Black Arrow R4 launch vehicle, 1971.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Britain developed the Black Arrow as its national satellite launcher. Based on the smaller Black Knight research rocket this was a three-stage vehicle, 12.87m tall. The first two stages were liquid-propelled while the third used a solid fuel motor. The first test in June 1969 failed. The second, in March 1970 was a succes but another in September again resulted in failure. Although Black Arrow R3 succesfully launched the Prospero satellite on October 28th 1971, the remainder of the programme had by then been cancelled by the government, meaning that R4 was never fired. All the launches of the Black Arrow rockets took place at Woomera, Australia. The rocket is pictured on display in the Space Gallery of the Science Museum, London, in 2001.