Over the course of a long and distinguished career, the BBC journalist Reginald Turnill, who has died aged 97, chronicled the disasters, thwarted aspirations and triumphs that marked the transition from the jet age to the space era. In January 1957, soon after he joined the BBC, Turnill's assignments as assistant industrial correspondent included spending time 2,000ft underground, reporting for the Home Service (now Radio 4) from the new Bevercotes colliery in Nottinghamshire. But by October that year he was covering the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, the world's first satellite, an event that sparked his interest in aerospace and led to his appointment as the BBC's air, space and defence correspondent.
Twelve years on, in July 1969, he was alternating between Nasa's Cape Kennedy launch site in Florida (now known as Cape Canaveral) and Mission Control in Houston, Texas. His assignment