Originally presented on Tuesday 7th September 2021 to the RAeS Boscombe Down Branch
These days, few have heard of the Skylark sounding rocket. Yet, in November 1957, it was the first British rocket to reach space, and became the basis of Britain’s earliest space programme. Hundreds were fired, launching into space thousands of scientific instruments. Many of these carried out pioneering astronomical observations in the X-ray and UV spectrum, regions previously unavailable to British scientists.
In this talk, Robin Brand tells the story of that space rocket, from its origins in the 1950s, until its last launch in 2005. It is based on research for Robin’s book of a similar name (the first ever written on the full story of the Skylark), which was published in December 2014. The book includes many photographs from Australian archives never before published. Some of these, and rare video footage of Skylark launches, are shown during the presentation.