Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Black Arrow remains brought from Australia to Scotland

Probably unknown to many, The UK had a space programme, and Black Arrow was the UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit.

The remains had lain where they fell in the South Australian outback for 48 years, being damaged by extreme weather and vandalism, until space technology firm Skyrora stepped in.

We’ve come across Skyrora before.

The remains of the rocket, described as “the most important artefact” of the UK’s space industry, are due to go on display in Penicuik, Midlothian, later this month.

There’s not much mention of the project nowadays, so we a need a little summary from Wikipedia…

Black Arrow originated from a Royal Aircraft Establishment proposal for a rocket capable of placing a 317-pound (144 kg) payload into low Earth orbit, in order to test systems designed for larger spacecraft. In the autumn of 1964, the programme was authorised by Conservative Aviation Minister Julian Amery. Then, following a general election in October, the incoming Labour government put the project on hold to reduce expenditure. Following another election, the government approved the continuation of the programme with several modifications, including the reduction of the test programme from five to three launches. The first launch was set for 1968.

Most of the technology and systems used on Black Arrow had already been developed or flight-proven on the Black Knight rocket, or the Blue Steel missile. Black Arrow was designed to reuse as much technology from the earlier programmes as possible in order to reduce costs, and simplify the development process.

The Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Frederick Corfield, announced the cancellation of the Black Arrow project in the House of Commons on 29 July 1971. As the R3 rocket had already been shipped to the launch site, the second stage having arrived three days earlier, permission was given for it to be launched.

The programme was cancelled on economic grounds, as the Ministry of Defence decided that it would be cheaper to use the American Scout rocket, which had a similar payload capacity, for future launches. Prior to the cancellation of Black Arrow, NASA had offered to launch British payloads for free; however, this offer was withdrawn following the decision to cancel Black Arrow.

Black Arrow

I’ve seen a few documentaries on the project over the years, but a quick look on YouTube only seems to bring up numerous clips, rather than a full showing of any of them.

Still worth trying to track down and watch the full story with interviews of those behind this success of its day.

Black Arrow: UK space rocket returns home from Australia

Black Arrow rocket set to land in Scotland after 48 years

Black Arrow First Stage Displayed at William Creek

Black Arrow First Stage Displayed at William Creek (PD)


21/01/2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – X18 REE

I usually suggest that illegally spaced number plates might as well not be, since they’re usually not enhanced by the effort.

Mostly true, this one might almost be worth the chance of picking up the cost of an extra £1,000 on the top of the original price, if it ever attracted the maximum fine for the modification to the plate’s appearance.

At least we don’t have to sit and puzzle the meaning, as is sometimes the case.

2010 Range Rover TD [X18 REE]

2010 Range Rover TD [X18 REE]

21/01/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment


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