Hosted on Thursday 11 May at the InterContinental London Park Lane, the Royal Aeronautical Society 2017 Banquet event provided an excellent opportunity for relaxed networking at a prestigious social occasion.  This event was hosted by the Society’s new President, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton FRAeS, with Sir Martin Sweeting HonFRAeS, Group Executive Chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, as the principal guest and after-dinner speaker.

In his after-dinner speech Sir Martin Sweeting delivered a fascinating account of the rapid developments in Space technology since the UK pioneered the radically new ‘micro’ satellite in the early 1980s.  Looking to the future, he spoke about some of the exciting developments that are set to impact global space applications, including mega constellations of small satellites; robotic manufacturing techniques and 3-D printing.  “Space in the UK has been rather a well-kept secret” said Sir Martin Sweeting “we have a thriving space industry and a strong academic community and both punch above their weight internationally….  As demonstrated by the ESA Rosetta comet lander and the mission of Tim Peake to the ISS, space has the ability to fire the imagination of the young and not-so-young alike to take an interest in technology, its uses and our place in the universe”.

It was especially fitting to hear from a leading pioneer in satellite technology, in a year when innovation in space technology and the advancement of the UK space industry is high on the agenda set for the Society by its new President, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. In his own after-dinner speech, Sir Stephen Dalton spoke about the impact of space exploration and satellite technology on the general public as well as our armed forces.  He went on to suggest that the UK could boost its global space market share and economic growth by building a spaceport that offers sovereign satellite launch capability.  This in turn would also support leading-edge scientific research, development and innovation.

The Royal Aeronautical Society is grateful to AlixPartners for supporting the Annual Banquet. AlixPartners is a leading global business advisory firm offering clients small teams of highly qualified experts with profound sector and operational insight, and helping companies to compete and adapt fast in the face of complex challenges.

The Annual Banquet is an established occasion in the aerospace calendar and has become a must-attend highlight for many in the industry.  Attended by over 500 guests from all sectors of the aerospace and aviation community, it provides the opportunity to network with existing contacts and forge new connections within the industry.

The Society will be returning to the InterContinental London Park Lane for next year’s Annual Banquet, which will be held on Thursday 10 May 2018.  Further details will be posted on the RAeS website over the coming weeks and if you have any queries, please email

To view and download photos taken at the 2017 Banquet, please click here.

To download Sir Martin Sweeting’s after-dinner speech, please click here.

To download the RAeS President's after-dinner speech, please click here.

The Royal Aeronautical Society 2017 Banquet was supported by:

Gail Ward
22nd May 2017