Although some scientific experiments had been flown on SL04 the previous
November, SL07 was Skylark's first flight for primarily scientific
purposes, and thus it initiated the Skylark operational programme. The
payload comprised three university experiments and one set of instruments
from the RAE.
As preparations for SL07 had proceeded without problem, and
SL05 had been delayed, SL07 was launched before SL05, and so was the sixth
Skylark to be launched.
Flight: The apogee of 153
km (95 miles) was 20% more than SL04, resulting in SL07 becoming the
second British rocket to reach space.
Recovery: As yet,
parachute recovery had not been introduced, and the neutral atmosphere
observations were made from the ground, where the ground network had been
upgraded with new pre-amplifiers using the latest invention - the
The UCL and Imperial College neutral atmosphere
experiments (using grenades and window/chaff respectively) to measure
temperature and wind variation with altitude were successful, but
Birmingham's attempt to measure electron concentration in the ionosphere
only partially so - although full success would be achieved when repeated
on SL09 in June.
Hence Skylark immediately allowed British scientists to contribute to
international class IGY research on the upper atmosphere; for instance the
Woomera upper atmosphere temperature profiles were correlated with similar
American results from White Sands and Guam, to help develop international
standard models of the atmosphere.