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Research Rocket Model - Skylark, circa 1965 Object Reg. No: ST 028130


The Skylark sounding rocket program began in the United Kingdom in 1954. The first launch took place at Woomera, South Australia in 1957. Skylark was developed by the Royal Aeronautical Establishment (RAE) and the Bristol Aeroplane Company (BAC) as a two-stage sub-orbital research rocket equipped with cameras, sensors or small payloads for scientific experiments. Despite losing British government funding in 1977, the Skylark program continued until 2005 when the final launch took place in Sweden. By this time the program was being managed by a private UK firm, Sounding Rocket Services. The final version of Skylark could take five experimental payloads in four compartments which were returned to earth using a parachute.

Skylarks were also assembled in Australia by the Weapons Research Establishment at Salisbury, South Australia. About 200 Skylarks were launched at Woomera between 1957 and 1979. On later versions power was supplied by UK-built 'Goldfinch' booster rocket for the first stage and a 'Raven' second-stage rocket. Among the experiments conducted with Skylark were X-ray and UV astronomy programs which discovered new X-ray sources from space.

Model History

This 1:4 scale model was donated to the Museum in 1959 by the Weapons Research Establishment in South Australia.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Australia: Defence Department, Weapons Research Establishment (WRE), 1959
Discipline: Technology

More information

Tagged with: rockets, scientific research
Themes this item is part of: Engineering Collection, Science & Measurement Collection, Transport Collection, Bristol Sleeve Valve Aero Engines
Primary Classification: AIR TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Atmospheric Rockets
Tertiary Classification: model research rockets
Model Scale: 1:4
Designer of Item Modelled: Royal Aeronautical Establishment (RAE), England, Great Britain, circa 1955
Manufacturer of Item Depicted: Bristol Aeroplane Company (BAC), England, Great Britain, circa 1955
User of Item Depicted: Australia: Defence Department, Weapons Research Establishment (WRE), South Australia, Australia, 1959


damien elson Posted on 18 Nov 2009 2:56 PM
what metal was the rocket tip made of?
Discovery Centre Posted on 18 Dec 2009 11:37 AM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi there, thanks for your enquiry. We've referred this to one of our History & Technology staff for their advice. We’ll get back to you soon with some more information.
Discovery Centre Posted on 18 Dec 2009 4:14 PM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi Damien! We passed your enquiry on to our Curator of Engineering, and he said that according to the Powerhouse Museum which has a real example, the nose cone is made of stainless steel.

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