Tuesday, June 12, 2007


December 1998 is the 45th anniversary of space flight society meetings in Scotland, starting as the Scottish branch of the British Interplanetary Society, and the 35th anniversary of ASTRA as an independent society. (The BIS itself was founded in 1933, and is 65 this year.) It is also just two months over twenty years since the reopening of Airdrie Observatory, run by ASTRA's Astronomy Section for Monklands District Council, now North Lanarkshire. For the 30th anniversary of the society I completed the archiving of the records then available, and for the 35th I produced a Chronology, with an appeal for help in closing the gaps, especially those in the earliest years. A great deal of fresh material has come to light since, particularly a full record of the society's first 20 years, so for the 45/35th anniversary the version which follows has been extensively revised and enlarged.

Even so, it's impossible to include everything. Even in its early years the society was meeting twice a month, in Edinburgh and Glasgow; it's met at least weekly since 1970, and when it had six branches in the late 1980's three of them met monthly, two twice monthly and one weekly, in addition to exhibition lectures and other one-off events. At a conservative estimate, there have been at least 3,250 public meetings. But many of the entries are repeated at other branches, and many are recurring; e.g. Airdrie's weekly meetings currently include a monthly 'Night Sky' meeting and a monthly video night, as well as frequent astronomy and rocketry events at Drumpellier Country Centre. My aim has been to list all the major events and a representative selection of the rest. It should be enough to show just how much has been done in the last 45 years.

At this point I will interrupt Duncan's history to comment on a point of administration. In an attempt to make the history of the society more 'web friendly' I have broken the history into a number of web pages - it would have been too large to include into a single web page. Below you will see a table which has been used to divide the history into a number of sections, which have been further divided into periods of 10 ten years. Each of these ten year periods have again been divided into the individual years - although the size of the actual pages varies depending on the number of events and the amount of records for each year within the section.

To visit a particular period of the ASTRA history simply click on the desired period within the table below. When you have finished with that particular period there are a number of access points within each page which will take you to various points within the ASTRA history.

Alternately, if you simply wish to read the ASTRA history from start to finish simply click on the first entry in the table below. Once you have finished reading the first section simply click on the "Read Next Page' option at the bottom of the page (represented by an arrow head). Repeat this instruction every time you come to the end of a section and you will be moved to the next period/section in ASTRA's history.