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21st successful launching up black knight rocket at Woomera range

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(Statement by the Hon, Peter Howson, M.P., Acting Minister for Supply)

The early hours of this morning saw the 21st

successful launching of a British Black Knight space

vehicle at Woomera Range in South Australia.

The Acting Minister for Supply (Mr, Peter Howson)

said today the rocket reached an altitude of 376 miles and

was tracked throughout its flight by the Weapons Research

Establishment staff operating the Woomera Range instrumentation.

' The re-entry of the head of the rocket into the upper

atmosphere caused a brilliant glow high in the night sky over

a large area of South Australia, and observations were

carried out as planned,

; Mr. Howson said this launching was the penultimate

in a series of re-entry physics experiments in which a

second stage motor is fired during descent to increase the

speed of re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

- These experiments have been conducted under the Dazzle

Programme, a co-operative venture with the United States

which has contributed most of the special ground-based

instrumentation for observing the re-entry phenomena, and

with Australia which has supplied the range facilities. — . _ ... ' V

.Mr, Howson said Black Knight was originally designed

to obtain data to aid the development cf the Blue Streak

missile and was subsequently adopted for carrying out space

research experiments concerned with phenomena occurring in, the <

upper atmosphere and at re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

The first Black Knight rocket was successfully launched

at Woomera seven years ago this month and the 20 successive

launchings from there have all been successful.

"This probably makes Black Knight the most successful

project of its type ever carried out. It is certainly a

remarkable achievement and reflects the highest credit on the

joint Ang1o-Australian team responsible for the launchings",

Mr. Howson said,


Black Knight has. been developed and manufactured in

the,United Kingdom for the Ministry of Aviation by the

Westland Aircraft Company in association with the Bristol

Siddeley Engine Company which is responsible to the U, K,

Rocket Propulsion Establishment for the main propulsion


In Australia, the Weapons Research Establishment of

the Department of Supply has been responsible for operating

the range equipment and the data recording instrumentation

and its subsequent analysis. The missile firing team has

been supplied by Hawker Siddeley Dynamics (Australia).

The co-ordination of the design and direction of the

whole project is carried out by the Royal Aircraft Establishment

at Farnborough.

■ - 2- .

Wednesday, September 29, 1965.