Black & Wight Fireworks British Peroxide Rockets


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First hand anecdotal snap shots offer a taste of daily life during the author’s fifteen-year period at the High Down and Woomera rocket test sites. The preparation of eight Black Knight and four Black Arrow rockets up to their liftoff are recounted in detail with relevant diagrams and a few photos. So-called “rocket-science” jargon is deliberately sidestepped throughout. Delays that dogged Black Arrow’s birth are touched along with a full explanation for terminating RO’s maiden flight. Peripheral issues met during the final two proving flights are also discussed. The launch team’s bittersweet feelings as R3 was readied and lifted off to deliver Prospero into earth orbit are chronicled alongside their dismay at the projects unfitting end. Black Arrow was Britain’s only home grown rocket to stage an orbital insertion and may also be the only rocket to achieve this using peroxide oxidiser.


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