National Space Centre offers free trip for Kettering schools to mark 50th anniversary of secret Soviet launch station discovery

A copy of our front page backin 1966 when the discovery was made.
A copy of our front page backin 1966 when the discovery was made.
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Schools in Kettering are being given the opportunity of a free day out at the National Space Centre to celebrate the 50th anniversary of two teachers discovering the location of a secret Soviet launch station.

In 1966 two Kettering Grammar School teachers and a handful of keen students, using radio equipment, discovered the station in Plesetsk before the American military or intelligence services had released details.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this discovery, the National Space Centre is launching an exhibition to tell people the story of the Kettering Grammar School Satellite Tracking Group, as well as putting on display the original equipment the group used back in the 1960s to listen to cosmonauts.

The centre is inviting Kettering schools who have not visited previously to apply for free tickets to attend the launch event, with up to 300 available.

Geoff Perry and Derek Slater led the first Kettering Grammar School Satellite Tracking Group.

Both men have passed away, Derek just last year after he had gifted the equipment to the centre.

Geoff’s daughter and Derek’s wife will be in attendance at the launch, as well as Bob Christy, Chris Wood (Russian Navsat expert) and Marcia Smith (assistant to Dr Sheldon, author of a report to the US Library of Congress concerning the Soviet launch site).

Places are being offered on a first come, first served, basis, with a maximum of 100 tickets per school.

The schools must be based in Kettering and have never visited the centre before.

Free entry can only be taken on March 16 and entry does not include travel or other expenses.