This book would not have been possible without the help given by very many people.

Ed Andrews, the Central Services Manager of Westcott Venture Park.

Alan Bond of Reaction Engines.

Roy Dommett CBE, of the RAE and DERA, who was involved in much of the work detailed in this book, and whose sharp and percipient comments have thrown light on many of the ideas outlined.

Wayne Cocroft of English Heritage for his help and assistance with the Spadeadam and High Down sites.

Andy Davis for the photograph of the VC 10 as a Skybolt carrier.

Guy Finch for his encyclopaedic knowledge of aircraft, Blue Streak and the rocket interceptors.

Professor Edward James, who set me on this search following an interview when I applied for his MA course in Science Fiction at Reading University, and after reading his book Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century, where he notes that Dan Dare ‘gave a whole generation of British boys… a totally false impression that Britain was going to dominate the space race.’

James Macfarlane of Airborne Engineering Limited, Westcott Venture Park.

Doug Millard, Space Curator at the Science Museum, who with great kindness started me on my research by allowing me access to his filing cabinet. He also was the first to put the idea in my mind: why do you want to launch satellites anyway?

Kate Pyne, official historian at the AWRE, Aldermaston, for answering blundering questions with tact.

Dave Wright, who has pursued Blue Streak with dogged perseverance, and without those endless telephone conversations this book would not have been possible. Many of the ideas outlined in this book originated from him. Thanks too to his wife Lesley for her patience!

The staff at the Public Record Office in Kew, the ELDO section of the Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute of Florence, the Coventry History Centre and the Science Museum at Wroughton.

Thanks also to David Cheek of GKN Aerospace, Susan Kinsella, Tom Lukeman, Sean Potter and Barrie Ricketson, for their help and suggestions. Any mistakes are entirely due to me.

Images and copyright:

Thanks to GKN Aerospace for supplying images. Also images from the Defence Evaluation Research Agency: © (British) Crown Copyright, 2000 Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, reproduced with the permission of the Controller Her (Britannic) Majesty’s Stationery Office.

The image of the ‘underground launcher’ on page 122 is by kind permission of English Heritage, and is copyright English Heritage. It was drawn by Allan Adams, and I am grateful to Wayne Cocroft for his help in obtaining the image.