October 28, 1971 Britain launched the Prospero satellite using a Black Arrow
R-3 launch vehicle. It was the first successful British satellite launcher -
and it was the last. The program was canceled. The fourth Black Arrow rocket
(R4) is exhibited a the science museum in London.
In 1963 the Royal Aircraft Establishment began work on a satellite launcher
based on the Black Knight test-vehicle. The Black Arrow had a first stage
with eight gamma 8 engines. A second stage with two gamma 2 engines and solid
3 stage "Waxwing". The Black Arrow was only capable of launching
The Black Arrow program was canceled on economic grounds, instead the US
Scout rocket, which had a similar payload capacity was used for future
The Prospero satellite is still in orbit, and radio signals could still be
heard until 2006. It is expected to be in orbit for about 100 years.
was launched again 40 years later
In 2011 Chris Armstrong turned my paper model into a 1:13
model and launched as a celebration for the 40th anniversary of the Black
Arrow R3 flight that placed the Prospero satellite in orbit.
He launched it at the same spot, where the orinal Black
Arrow rocket engines were tested at Highdown on the Isle of Wight.
the original engineers assisted Chris with the launch.
See photos from the launch here
Watch the rocket launch at Youtube
Books and other sources:
My own photos from Science Museum, London
The Black Arrow rocket by Douglas Millard
Rockets of the world by Peter Alway,
Brian Harvey, Europes Spaceprogramme to ariane and beyond
www.spaceuk.org - Black Arrow
wikipedia - Black Arrow
Myerscough - Once we had a rocket