was the third Skylark launched. This time, as well as the RAE test
instrumentation, two photometers (sensitive light detectors), of a type to
be used in later experiments by Queen's University Belfast, were flown.
Preparation: The first three attempts to launch SL03 had to
be abandoned because of technical problems. Tuesday 23rd July brought
better luck, preparations were complete by 10 am, and it was fired at
12:32 local time.
SL03's run of back luck continued. Although aerodynamically it probably
performed correctly in flight, a major mistake was made as it was fired,
when an isolation switch was not operated, so the internal batteries were
not connected, and the vehicle flew completely "dead".
Recovery: Ground based
optical tracking was lost after 21 seconds when the rocket became hidden
in the clouds. As a result SL03 was never found!
The power supply error meant no
in-flight telemetry telemetry data was received, and none of the on-board
electronic tracking systems worked. However, it was estimated to have
reached an altitude of 280,000 feet (53 miles/85 km) and landed some 136
miles (219 km) downrange. It is probably still there!