Stentor rocket engine, c 1960.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The Stentor engine propelled the Blue Steel stand-off bomb. The operational Blue Steel stand-off bomb carried Britain's nuclear deterrent between 1964 and 1975. Each bomb was carried beneath a Vulcan or Victor aircraft, air-launched at altitude and then propelled by a Stentor rocket engine to accelerate to a maximum velocity of Mach 2. The Stentor was a two-chambered engine that burned kerosene fuel in hydrogen peroxide. Its technology was subsequently adapted for the Gamma 301 engines of the Black Knight ballistic test vehicles and the Gamma Types 8 and 22 of the Black Arrow satellite launch vehicles. The engine is being cleaned by a Science Museum conservator prior to being photographed for a Science Museum book on the Black Arrow Rocket.