The International Space University is joining the many voices of congratulations to Prof. Chris Welch upon his election as the next President of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS), a responsibility that he will officially take up in August following the current President, Gerry Webb. Prof Welch will do this while continuing as Professor of Space Engineering, Head of the Space Payloads Laboratory and Director of the MSc in Space Studies at ISU’s Central Campus in Strasbourg.
Founded in 1933, the BIS “promotes the exploration and use of space for the benefit of humanity, by connecting people to create, educate and inspire, and advance knowledge in all aspects of astronautics.” You can read more about the BIS at www.bis-space.com
Prof. Welch’s three-year Presidential term will come after many years of BIS membership, he having joined the society as a student in 1979, and later serving on the BIS Council and as a Vice-President.
Professor Welch said “My ‘BIS mission’ is longer even than the ISU one that I started when I first met ISU founders Peter Diamandis and Todd Hawley in 1987. I am thrilled to be heading up the world-renowned BIS as its new president and am very excited for what the future has in store for UK’s space industry and the global space endeavour.”
There are also some interesting cross-connections between ISU and the BIS through Arthur C. Clarke. As well as being ISU’s first Chancellor, Arthur C. Clarke was an early member of the BIS and was BIS President 1946-47 and 1951-53, while the BIS HQ is located in Arthur C. Clarke House in London.
In addition, in 1951 during Arthur C. Clarke’s BIS Presidency, the society became one of the founding members of the International Astronautical Federation (and is, in fact, the only one of the thirteen founders that still exists). Now ISU’s current Chancellor, Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund, is also the President of the IAF.
Prof. Welch said “I’m also pleased to say that next generation activities will feature high on my agenda as BIS President and I very much hope to initiate significant ISU-BIS co-operation during my term.”