Last flight of the Skylark

Although it is apparently one of the most successful rocket programmes of all time, I had never heard of Skylark rockets until today. That is rather unfortunate as the last one gets launched tomorrow. They were developed by the Royal Aeronautical Establishment, Farnborough and the Rocket Propulsion Establishment, Westcott. The motors were produced by Royal Ordnance Bridgewater and Westcott so they are a British design which was initially funded by the UK government. Skylark has been operated on a commercial basis since 1966 with the last motors were produced in 1994. The company that launches the Skylark has been running out ever since. Tomorrow sees the launch of the 441st Skylark rocket, carrying a package of science experiments, named MASER 10, which will study the effects of microgravity. It is quite British for all the bits of the rocket to be named after birds; the boosters have had names like cuckoo and goldfinch with sustainers named raven, gosling and waxwing.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Friday 29th Apr 2005 (17:35 UTC) | Permalink
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