Black Arrow

From Academic Kids

This article is about a launch vehicle: for an article on the novel by R. L. Stevenson, see The Black Arrow.

Black Arrow was a British satellite launch vehicle based on the Black Knight rocket. Black Arrow was the brainchild of British engineer John Scott-Scott, and was developed by the Royal Aircraft Establishment.

Contents

Launches

  • R0 was launched on 28 June 1969 and was destroyed by ground control after an electrical fault led to a loss of guidance control
  • R1 was launched on 4 March 1970 and was successful, although it carried no third stage payload
  • R2 was launched on 2 September 1970. The first stage was successful but a leak in the HTP pressurisation system meant the rocket did not have enough velocity to reach orbit, and crashed into the Gulf of Carpentaria with the loss of the X-2 experimental satellite
  • R3 was launched on 28 October 1971. The launch was completely successful and placed into orbit the Prospero X-3 satellite, making the United Kingdom the sixth nation to place a satellite into orbit (after the USSR, USA, France, Japan and China).

Cancellation

The cancellation of the Black Arrow project was announced in the House of Commons on 29 July 1971 by the then Minister for Aerospace, Frederick Corfield, although permission was given for the final launch of R3 to take place after this date. The last vehicle, R4, was never launched, and may be seen on display at the Science Museum, London.

The decision was taken on grounds of cost effectiveness; it was decided that using NASA's solid fuel Scout rocket for future launches would offer adequate performance at a lower cost.

Legacy

The cancellation of Black Arrow marked the end of the UK's dreams of becoming a major space power. The UK had been at the forefront of rocketry since World War II but swiftly fell behind during the 60s and 70s. All future British satellite launches had to rely on foreign rockets.

As of 2005, the UK is the only nation to have successfully developed and then abandoned a satellite launch capability.

See also

External links


Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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