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Falstaff
Part of Stonechat Family
Falstaff
Falstaff
Credit: via Jean-Jacques Serra
British sounding rocket. Single stage hypersonic test vehicle using the Stonechat II solid rocket motor.

Status: Retired 1979. First Launch: 1975-05-09. Last Launch: 1979-04-04. Number: 7 . Thrust: 240.00 kN (53,950 lbf). Gross mass: 5,100 kg (11,200 lb). Height: 5.30 m (17.30 ft). Diameter: 0.92 m (3.01 ft). Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

Some Falstaff or Stonechat launches may have used a substantially larger motor. The Project Officer with the UK Joint Service 'Joint Air Transport Establishment' (JATE) at RAF Abingdon in 1974 recalls that they flew a Stonechat rocket from UK to Woomera in October 74.

The Stonechat motor was in a specially built container which completely filled the C-130 freight hold. There was no way of jettisoning the load, and with 9.2 metric tons of solid fuel, we reckoned that if anything went wrong, we would be the first Hercules in space - briefly! Actually the only problem we had was when a spinner on one engine came loose over the Timor Sea, having been incorrectly re-fitted after an engine change in Singapore. This gave us three days off in Darwin while a new spinner was delivered and fitted. Interesting place in those days, and one of the reasons that I am now an Australian.
Extract from his Log Book follows:

  • 18-Sep-74 9:30 VC10 XV 108 Sqn Ldr Brown PAX Brize Norton - RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus) 4:55 Deploying to Singapore, to RV with JATE C130 Task 011/74.
  • 18/19 Sep 74 Not Recorded VC10 XV 108 Sqn Ldr Ganley PAX Akrotiri - Gan 2:00 5:20 As Above.
  • 19-Sep-74 Not Recorded VC10 XV 108 Sqn Ldr Smythe PAX Gan - Tengah 4:10 As Above.
  • 24-Sep-74 11:20 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Rodger Payne JATE Task 011/74 Tengah - RAAF Darwin 7:25 Transporting STONECHAT solid fuel rocket motor (9.2 t NEQ) to Woomera. Spinner on No 2 engine came loose in flight, and detached on landing.
  • 26-Sep-74 12:20 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Payne JATE Darwin - Woomera 4:45 Delivery of STONECHAT.
  • 27-Sep-74 9:35 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Payne JATE Woomera - Darwin 4:25 RTU ex-STONECHAT delivery task.
  • 28-Sep-74 5:15 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Payne JATE Darwin - Tengah 2:30 4:25 RTU ex-STONECHAT delivery task.
  • 1-Oct-74 14:50 VC10 XV 107 Sqn Ldr Hobbs PAX Tengah - Gan 3:55 RTU ex-STONECHAT delivery task.



Country: UK. Launch Sites: Woomera, Woomera LA2. Stages: Stonechat II, Stonechat Mk 2. Agency: Royal Aerospace Establishment, RO.

1975 May 9 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff.
1976 February 10 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff.
1978 May 23 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff. FAILURE: Failure.
1978 September 15 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff.
1978 December 6 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff.
1979 February 14 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff.
1979 April 4 - . Launch Site: Woomera. Launch Complex: Woomera LA2. Launch Pad: LA2 HRV. LV Family: Stonechat. Launch Vehicle: Falstaff.

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