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Black Knight

The Black Knight was a British test vehicle designed to test re-entry vehicles for the Blue Streak MRBM. It was subsequently used for a series of US-sponsored test of RV radar signatures.

Status: Retired 1965. First Launch: 1958-09-07. Last Launch: 1965-11-25. Number: 22 . Apogee: 803 km (498 mi).

In July 1955 Sanders Roe was selected to build a rocket to test re-entry vehicle designs for the Blue Streak MRBM. The rocket was required to loft a 115 kg re-entry vehicle shape to an altitude of 800 km for re-entries at 5 km/sec. Two development launches and three RV tests were completed before the Blue Streak was cancelled in April 1960. However the vehicle continued in use in a new series of tests sponsored by the United States. These studied the radar signatures of RV's and their plasma trails, crucial in development of early warning and anti-ballistic missile systems. In order to reach the higher re-entry speeds of an ICBM, a Cuckoo second stage was added to the vehicle. This was mounted upside-down in order to accelerate the RV shape down into the atmosphere during descent. These flights were conducted in two series, code-named Gaslight and Dazzle.

The Gamma engines of the vehicle were manufactured by Bristol Siddeley and used on both the Black Knight and Black Arrow launch vehicles. Propellants were High Test Peroxide and Kerosene. Black Knight used 4 chambers in two pairs on the Y and Z axes. The motors were gimbaled to provide thrust in all axes. The Cuckoo second stage motor was manufactured at RPE Westcott.



Subtopics

Black Knight 201 British test vehicle. Single stage vehicle.

Black Knight 201/C British test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Black Knight 201 + 1 x Cuckoo IB

Black Knight 301/C British test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Black Knight 301 + 1 x Cuckoo IB

Black Knight 201/C2 British test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Black Knight 201 + 1 x Cuckoo II

Black Knight 301/C2 British test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Black Knight 301 + 1 x Cuckoo II

Family: test vehicle. Country: UK. Launch Vehicles: Black Knight 201, Black Knight 201/C, Black Knight 301/C, Black Knight 201/C2, Black Knight 301/C2. Launch Sites: Woomera, Woomera LA5A, Woomera LA5B. Agency: Saunders-Roe. Bibliography: 17, 2, 7613.

1958 September 7 - . 10:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: UK. Agency: Royal Aerospace Establishment. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Black Knight missile of the United Kingdom was launched from the Australian range at Woomera to an altitude of over 300 miles..

1959 March 12 - . 10:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: UK. Agency: Royal Aerospace Establishment. Apogee: 537 km (333 mi). Second British Black Knight rocket reached 350-mile altitude at Woomera, Australia..

1959 June 11 - . 13:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1959 June 29 - . 11:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1959 October 30 - . 11:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1960 May 24 - . 11:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight. FAILURE: Failure.
1960 June 21 - . 10:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1960 July 25 - . 11:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1961 February 7 - . 12:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1961 May 9 - . 12:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight. FAILURE: Failure.
1961 June 7 - . 11:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight. FAILURE: Failure.
1962 May 1 - . 13:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1962 August 24 - . 11:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1962 November 29 - . 16:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5A. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1963 October 17 - . 10:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1964 March 11 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1964 August 5 - . 17:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1964 November 6 - . 13:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1965 April 21 - . 11:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1965 July 26 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1965 September 28 - . 14:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.
1965 November 25 - . 13:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA5B. Launch Pad: LA5B?. Launch Vehicle: Black Knight.

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