The Woomera launch of the British Prospero satellite
by a Black Arrow launch vehicle on October 28, 1971.

The Black Arrow was designed and built by Great Britain as a satellite launch vehicle. Only four were launched - all from Woomera. The first (28 June 1969) was deliberately destroyed following loss of control 50 seconds into the flight. The second (4 March 1970) was a successful sub-orbital flight. The third (2 September 1970) was the first orbital attempt which ended in failure when the second stage engines shutdown 13 seconds early.

The Black Arrow program was cancelled by the British Government in July 1971, although one further launch was permitted.

At 0409 GMT on October 28, 1971, the fourth and final Black Arrow left its launch pad at Woomera and placed the Prospero satellite (International designation: 1971-093-A) into an orbit inclined at 82 degrees to the equator about 10 minutes after liftoff. The initial orbit had a perigee (low point) of 537 kilometres and an apogee (high point) of 1,593 kilometres. (As of 12 April, 2007, Prospero's orbit was 531 by 1,330 kilometres and the satellite had completed about 77,400 orbits.)

The Prospero satellite was built by the British Aircraft Corporation. It was spin-stabilized and was designed to prove basic systems for future satellites. It carried a single scientific experiment designed to detect micrometeoroids.

Memories of Black Arrow

A History of Woomera
Research Missiles
Tracking Stations
Return To Orbit
Gibber Gabber
Woomera Village
Woomera Life
Memories of Woomera

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Copyright © 1997-2007  Mark T. Rigby
(Last updated: 13 April, 2007)