Ariel 1 satellite, 1962.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Ariel 1 satellite, seen above the nose of the Black Arrow British satellite launcher in the Space Gallery at the Science Museum, London, in 1991. Britain's first satellite, Ariel 1 was launched on 26th April 1962 by an American Thor Delta rocket. Known as UK1 or S51 before launch, Ariel 1 was built in America but carried ionospheric and X-ray experiments built by British Universities and it transmitted experimental data until November 1964.