BRITAIN'S FIRST SPACE ROCKET

The story of the Skylark


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1957 May 22

SL02 is fired from Woomera at 14.50 local time,
 Wednesday 22 May 1957
(WRE\Dorling (1959) figure 17)

Summary: SL02 was the second Skylark launched. As with the first, the vehicle carried no university experiments, only RAE test instruments to monitor performance. An improved Raven IIA motor was used.

Preparation: Wednesday 22nd May dawned fine with a moderate breeze from the south. Final preparations started at 13:30, and firing occurred at 14:50

Flight: This second flight reached a height a height of 250,000 feet (47 miles / 76 km), over six times as high as SL01. Unfortunately, because of an error in setting the launch tower dial readings, the vehicle flew far to the right of its intended path.

Recovery: The impact point was outside the range boundary, and "...wisely it was it was decided not to go and look for [the Skylark] as that would have drawn attention to it." Thus the impact could only be estimated as 111 miles (179 km) downrange.

Result:  The favourable position of the Sun meant that optical tracking was considerably better than SL01. Telemetry and other records were satisfactory. Useful heating measurements of the nose cone were again obtained, although the vibration sensor amplifier failed in flight.

Seq.
Nos

Launch
date

Ref.
(sponsor)
launch site

Config-uration

Apogee km
(miles)

Experi-menter

Experiment(s)

Res-ult

2
(2)

22 May 1957

SL02
(UK)
Woomera

Un, Raven IIA

76
(47)

RAE

Test general vehicle & range proving, + vibration sensors

S

More:
(i) 'Britain's First Space Rocket' book: page 79 onwards
ii() Dorling (1959), The First Six Skylark Firings, pp.23-28. (RAE Technical Report GW530, Oct.1959)
(TNA:PRO DSIR 23/27687)

                       New Forest Electronics Tel. +44 (0) 1425 650089                 Issue 3.62    20 September 2017