Skylark launchThe Skylark was an inexpensive, but very successful high-altitude research rocket developed by the Royal Aircraft Establishment in the United Kingdom. It used solid fuel to keep it simple and inexpensive. The first Skylark was launched on February 13, 1957.

For the same reasons, it was decided not to include a guidance system. Instead, it was fired from a Woomera launch tower made out of pieces of bridges left over from World War II.

In its initial form, the 7.62-metre long Skylark was designed to carry payloads of between 45 and 68 kg to a height of over 150 kilometres. A later two-stage version (length - 9.39 metres) could reach altitudes of up to 240 kilometres.

During the 1960's and 1970's, many Skylarks were launched from Woomera with payloads dedicated to Solar, X-ray and UV astronomy, as well as ionospheric research. Over the years, more than 200 Woomera-launched Skylarks carried payloads for British, European, German, and American space programs.

The last Skylark launch from Woomera occurred on 25 August 1987 as part of studies into Supernova 1987a in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

The photograph above shows the launch of a Skylark from Woomera's Range E in 1957. It reached an altitude of about 129 kilometres.

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 © 1997-2001  Mark T. Rigby
(Last updated: 16 October, 2001)