Skylark, the one of the World’s longest running space programmes, will lift-off for the final time in a launch window starting on Saturday, April 30th. The launch of the 441st Skylark sounding rocket marks the end of 50 years of outstanding scientific research that has included investigations into atmospheric conditions, X-ray astronomy, land use and the effects of microgravity.
The Skylark sounding rocket has been a leading British success story since its design in the mid 1950s. The first Skylark was launched from Woomera, Australia, during the International Geophysical Year of 1957. The final Skylark mission, MASER 10, carries a suite of experiments to study the effects of microgravity, including a biological investigation of the protein, actin, and a study of interfacial turbulence in evaporating liquids. MASER 10 will be launched from the Esrange Site, near Kiruna in northern Sweden.
Hugh Whitfield, of Sounding Rocket Services Ltd, which has operated the Skylark programme since 1999, says, “Skylark is one of the most successful rocket programmes of all time, but this British achievement is largely unknown. We should be immensely proud of the contribution to science that Skylark has made and it is a testament to the skill of British engineers that the programme has lasted nearly half a century.”
Anita Heward | alfa
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