On April 26th 1962 Ariel 1 the first British satellite was launched, it carried 6 experiments, Ariel 1 made the UK only the third country to have a satellite in space at that time. The others being the USA and the Soviet Union.
Ariel 1 which was named after a Shakespearian character from the Tempest was launched by an American rocket. One of the missions of Ariel 1 was to measure solar radiation. The UK did not have at the ability to launch a satellite at this time.
Sadly its career was ended on July 9th 1962 when the Americans exploded their Starfish Prime atomic bomb in a high altitude test. The solar panels were destroyed and all contact with Ariel1 was lost. Originally designed to re enter the atmosphere in 1963 it came down in 1976.