Space Safety resulting from a World War 2 rocket launch

HE Space representative attended IAASS commemoration

IAASS commemoration group picture IAASS commemoration group picture

We all know that rockets are pretty dangerous things – and that’s without filling them with high explosives. So why would the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) want to commemorate a World War 2 rocket launch? Read on.

On 8 September 1944 Germany launched its first targeted V2 rocket from Wassenaar, near Noordwijk in The Netherlands. It came as a huge surprise and shock to the good citizens of Wassenaar when this missile erupted from out of the forest. The programme had been conducted in total secrecy and they had no idea that it was there. Shortly afterwards it crashed into London (Chiswick, for those who are familiar with London).

Ceremony and donated plaque

Nobody would applaud the intent or outcome of this mission but, if we take a step back, we can appreciate that this launch was the start of the space programme. Without rockets there are no satellites and no space programme so the IAASS decided to commemorate this significant event by donating a plaque to the town of Wassenaar. This plaque will be installed on the very spot where the launch happened.

On 20 October 2021 a special ceremony was held at the magnificent offices of Mayor Leendert de Lange in Wassenaar. In attendance were representatives of the IAASS, Ariane Group, Kourou Spaceport, the International Institute of Space Law, the Wassenaar Historical Society and … HE Space.

Donated plaque Donated plaque

HE Space has a history in space safety

Why HE Space? Because HE Space has a long and distinguished history in space safety. Owner Scott Millican was co-founder of the IAASS together with Tommaso Sgobba (standing 3rd from left), then Head of ESA’s Safety Office. Consequently, HE Space Operations BV Managing Director, Keith Muirhead (standing 3rd from right), was invited to participate and he stated afterwards that it was “in all a slightly bizarre, fascinating and thought-provoking experience”.

Keith’s British nationality was also a factor since the other attendees represented The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France and the USA.


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