After the war, the Group hired Heinrich Schumann, a German professor. He was (correctly) suspected of being a Nazi war criminal by his co-workers but was never charged. (AUDIO: Threshold) Other post-war staff included Professor Jeffrey Broderick, Professor Rachel Jensen, Allison Williams, and a man called Bernard. (AUDIO: Artificial Intelligence, TV: Remembrance of the Daleks) Philanthropist Sir Keith Kordel was heavily involved in funding their early days. (AUDIO: Rise and Shine)
During the 1950s and early 1960s, it was famous for its pioneering work on propulsion systems and rocket guidance arrays and for a serious of controversial orbital flights. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) In 1953, it sent an experimental three-man mission into space. Only one astronaut returned, infected with an extraterrestrial parasite. He mutated into an alien creature whom the director of the Rocket Group ended up defeating in London in front of BBC cameras; the broadcast was subsequently passed off as hyperrealistic science fiction to prevent mass panic.
In 1955, the British Rocket Group would once again help thwart an alien invasion, this time at a refinery in Essex. (PROSE: Background) In 1959 it collaborated with the United States of America on an experimental space plane, the Waverider; the project director was Edward Drakefell. The Waverider was destroyed in an encounter with a hostile parallel universe. (PROSE: Loving the Alien)
In 1963, the Intrusion Countermeasures Group drafted Jensen and Williams to help with the Shoreditch Incident. Jensen remarked that the British Rocket Group had problems. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
In the mid 1960s, when the Group launched from Herefordshire, the Light Sleepers brainwashed Sir Keith into hijacking a satellite launch to send pathogens around the world. Countermeasures thwarted it but many staff were killed. (AUDIO: Rise and Shine)
When Professor Ralph Cornish took over, the Group was rejuvenated and renamed the British Space Centre. Using Cyberman technology, it jumped to the forefront of the space race and by 1969 (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy) it was running the Mars Probe series of spaceflights to Mars. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death) Shortly before the Apollo 11 mission, Cornish's team sent Mars Probe 5 in secret. (PROSE: Moon Blink)
By 1970, the name was Rocket Group again. Cornish was in overall charge of Britain's space programme and Professor Bernard Trainor ran the Group. It was instrumental in getting useful information about Neptune and Uranus from unmanned probes. Trainor was killed that year during the Waro attack. (PROSE: The Devil Goblins from Neptune)
By 1997, the Science Minister Lord Edward Greyhaven pushed for a new Mars 97 manned mission as part of a conspiracy: to give an Ice Warrior faction an excuse to invade and occupy Britain. (PROSE: The Dying Days)
Behind the scenes
The British Rocket Group were the protagonists in the influential Quatermass sci-fi serials. The mention of the Group and "Bernard" (Quatermass' first name) was an Easter egg reference by Ben Aaronovitch. In Quatermass, they were originally called the British Experimental Rocket Group.
Who Killed Kennedy states that their name was changed by Ralph Cornish, explaining why a different name was used in The Ambassadors of Death.
While the agency is unnamed in The Christmas Invasion, a "British Rocket Group" logo is visible in the background. The BBC created an in-universe tie-in website for the Guinevere One which included a Rocket Group history, though this is not considered valid by this wiki.
- British Experimental Rocket Group website (promotional website for the 2005 The Quatermass Experiment remake)
- Guinevere One: "About the British Rocket Group" archive