ELDO

ELDO Launch Site

The launch site for ELDO's Europa launch vehicles. Two launch pads were built on the shore
of dry Lake Hart. Launcher 6A, in the foreground, was the only one completed and used
for launches. Launcher 6B is visible in the distance. The Mobile tower at Launcher 6A is
shown in its rolled back position. Today, the concrete remains, but the rest has long gone.



ELDO - the European Launcher Development Organisation - was established to develop a satellite launch vehicle for Europe. Woomera, Australia, was chosen as the launch site for the test vehicles.

The ELDO project originated back around 1960 with the cancellation of the British "Blue Streak" ICBM program. Blue Streak became the first stage of the "Europa" vehicle with France providing the second stage and Germany the third. Italy worked on the satellite project, while the Netherlands and Belgium concentrated on tracking and telemetry systems. Australia was the only non-European member - a status granted in return for providing the launch facilities.

The ELDO project was divided into three phases.

Phase 1 involved launching northwest toward Talgarno in Western Australia. Three successful launches (F-1, F-2 &F-3) of the first stage (Blue Streak) were conducted in 1964/65.

Phase 2 saw northerly launches into the Simpson Desert in the Northern Territory. Launches (F-4 to F6/2) were conducted in 1966/67.

Phase 3 involved northerly launches with the target of reaching orbit and eventually orbiting an operational satellite. Launches (F-7 to F-9) were conducted between 1967 and 1970. The Final F-10 flight never took place.

In summary, 10 launches occurred in the program - the first involved the first stage only on 5 June 1964. Unfortunately, no successful satellite launch was achieved and the final all-up launch of ELDO's Europa 1 launch vehicle took place on 12 June 1970 with the satellite failing to reach orbit.

European satellite launch activities then shifted to the French site at Kourou, in French Guiana, which is now home to Ariane launches.



ELDO LAUNCHES FROM WOOMERA


Flight
Launch Date 
Comments
F-1
5 Jun 1964
1st stage only. Successful.
A Blue Streak launch in 1964
A Blue Streak launch.
F-2
20 Oct 1964
1st stage only. Successful.
F-3
22 Mar 1965
1st stage only. Successful.
F-4
24 May 1966
Active first stage with dummy 2nd & 3rd stages
and satellite. Flight terminated after 136 seconds.
Material was recovered from the Simpson Desert in 1994 - see F-4 Recovery.
F-5
13 Nov 1966
Active first stage with dummy 2nd & 3rd stages
and satellite. Flight successful.
F-6/1 4 Aug 1967 Active 1st and 2nd stages with dummy 3rd stage
and satellite. The 2nd stage failed to ignite.
F-6/2 5 Dec 1967 Active 1st and 2nd stages with dummy 3rd stage
and satellite. 1st and 2nd stages failed to separate.
F-7 30 Nov 1968
All stages active, satellite fitted.
3rd stage exploded.
F-7 Launch
F-7 Launch
F-8 3 Jul 1969 All stages active, satellite fitted.
3rd stage exploded.
F-9 12 Jun 1970 All stages active, satellite fitted.
All stages successful. Satellite failed to orbit.



 
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Copyright © 1997-2001  Mark T. Rigby
(Last updated: 24 October, 2001)