The British Rocket Group was a scientific think-tank advising on space matters and the United Kingdom's official space agency.
20th century Edit
The group was formed in the early 1950s, initially as a private group, with its first rocket in 1953. (WEB: Guinevere One: About the British Rocket Group) During this decade, Rocket Group ran rocket launches with such controversial results that some scientists decided to leave or to retire early. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) Several of their staff were former Nazi scientists, with Heinrich Shumann being a former war criminal; everyone at the Group suspected the truth but the organisation officially denied it. (AUDIO: Threshold)
Rachel Jensen worked there some time before 1963, before being drafted as the scientific advisor to the Intrusion Countermeasures Group. In the British Rocket Group, she had worked under "Bernard". (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
During the latter half of the 1960s, only a skeleton staff remained when Professor Ralph Cornish took over the organisation. However, he negotiated a deal with Ashley Chapel to claim the latest cutting-edge technology available from International Electromatics, after the death of Tobias Vaughn. Cornish re-christened the Group, the British Space Centre to bring its moniker in line with its new function, making Britain a force in the space race. The Space Centre was based in Hertfordshire, which acted as Space Control when it began co-ordinating the Mars Probes launched by Great Britain. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
One of these probes included Mars Probe 7, with the objective of sending a crew to Mars. Its crew included Joe Lefee and Frank Michaels. Shortly after landing on the planet, all communications from the crew ceased, even when the ship departed. Concerned, the British Space Centre sent Charles Van Lyden in the Recovery 7 to rendezvous with Mars Probe 7. Van Lyden, like Lefee and Michaels, was captured by aliens, who sent three of their ambassadors to Earth in the ship. However, the aliens eventually departed. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death) After this Mars Probe crisis, Ralph Cornish resigned his position, and the British Space Centre reverted to its original name again. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
During the 1970s, it worked closely with the Space Security Department and shared their offices at London's Space Centre. (WEB: Guinevere One: About the British Rocket Group) However, the British space programme came to a brutal end when Mars Probe 13 was attacked by the Argyre Clan of Ice Warriors. (PROSE: The Dying Days)
During the 1980s and 1990s, with the space programme over and the Security Department closed down, the British Rocket Group again became a small private venture. The Group moved to Harrogate and concentrated on developing new tools for the analysis of metreorites, as well as setting up a linked chain of orbital satellites for deep space observation. (WEB: Guinevere One: About the British Rocket Group) In 1997 it was reborn as a powerful government agency with the creation of the Mars 97 mission, but this was part of an Argyre Clan/Lord Greyhaven plot and the mission was wiped out. (PROSE: The Dying Days)
21st century Edit
The British Rocket Group remained, however. By 2001 it hired Professor Daniel Llewellyn to oversee a new series of space probes. The Guinevere One Mars probe project began in 1 August 2003 (WEB: Guinevere One: Daniel Llewellyn) and was launched on 31 October 2006. This occurred during the administration of Prime Minister Harriet Jones. (TV: The Christmas Invasion)
Some time in the early to mid 21st century, the Group was bought by space tourism billionaire Campbell Irons, who moved it's base of operations to the Space Defence Station in Devesham. (AUDIO: The Feast of Axos)
Behind the scenes Edit
- The British Rocket Group originated not on Doctor Who but in the BBC's 1950s horror-science fiction television serials featuring Bernard Quatermass. The first Quatermass serial, The Quatermass Experiment, featured the grotesque transformation of a British astronaut as a dangerous alien organism took over his body. This would explain why a number of the scientists involved would have opted for an early retirement. The first (and only, in televised terms) references to the British Rocket Group (and of "Bernard") occurred as an in-joke in Remembrance of the Daleks.
- In The Christmas Invasion, the British Rocket Group does not get a direct mention, but in-universe websites did so.