BRITAIN'S FIRST SPACE ROCKET

The story of the Skylark


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SL08
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 1958 Sept 19
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Summary: The actual vehicle worked well, reaching the highest altitude to date, but the three university experiments returned no results, and so little is known of this mission.

Preparation:  Although SL07 had been launched in April 1958, there were four more launched before SL08 (SL05 in May, and SL22, SL18 and SL 09 in June), and so SL08 was in fact the 11th Skylark to be launched.

Flight: The apogee of 157 km (98 miles) was the highest yet achieved.

Recovery:  Parachute recovery had not been introduced, and no information about the impact point has been found.  

Results: Unfortunately no scientific measurements were obtained - the UCL and Imperial College neutral atmosphere experiments (using grenades and window/chaff respectively) to measure temperature and wind variation with altitude failed, and there was no telemetry from Birmingham's attempt to measure electron concentration in the ionosphere by dielectric means.

The lack of scientific results meant that this flight was not reported in any scientific papers.

Seq. Nos

Launch date

Ref.
(sponsor)
launch site

Configuration

Apogee km
(miles)

Experimenters

Experiments

Result

11
(7)

19 Sept.
 1958

SL08
(UK)
Woomera

Unstabilised,
Raven 2

157
(98)

 UCL
IC
Birmngham

Neutral atmosphere (grenades)
Neutral atmosphere (window/chaff)
Ionosphere - electron concentration

F
F
Sf

More:
Brand, R. H. (2014), Britain's First Space Rocket, p.117.

                       New Forest Electronics Tel. +44 (0) 1425 650089                 Issue 3.91    23rd August 2021