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Blue Streak based satellite transport system

fredgell

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I believe DeHavilland Holdings was a minority shareholder in Saunders from about 1956 untill the merger with Westlands in 1959.
One would assume this would have resulted in pretty close cooperation in practice. (I think it was circa 30% but cant find the figures.)

There was at least one project that used Saro flying boat design for a proposed DH nuclear aircraft that got into the press.

Regards

Fred

ps I saw a link on the Science & Society picture library -
http://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk/results.asp?image=10326691&wwwflag=2&imagepos=11
for the Black Arrow flight sequencer - cam driven microswitch - just like a washing machine.
all would be in one tiny microchip these days - made me wonder what else was in these designs that would be radically improved now.
 

JFC Fuller

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The more I read the more apparent it becomes that the engineers were not happy with Black Prince, even with the 54 inch Black Knight upper, ultimately they pushed for an enlargement to 58 inches but it appears that this was barely satisfactory. The spherical solution shown on the 1st page of this thread looks like it would be the most appropriate for creating a second stage to Blue Streak with some sort of liquid hydrogen third stage on top.
 

Michel Van

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sealordlawrence said:
The more I read the more apparent it becomes that the engineers were not happy with Black Prince, even with the 54 inch Black Knight upper, ultimately they pushed for an enlargement to 58 inches but it appears that this was barely satisfactory. The spherical solution shown on the 1st page of this thread looks like it would be the most appropriate for creating a second stage to Blue Streak with some sort of liquid hydrogen third stage on top.
there had to be several third stage for Black Prince depending from Payload
50lbs very high orbit to 2000lbs in low orbit

Soild
The Cuckoo motor of Black Knight ?
http://www.spaceuk.org/bk/bk_pics/13.htm
HTP/Kerosin
http://www.spaceuk.org/bstreak/bs/bprince.gif
Lox/LH2
for payload of 600lbs into a 5 000 nautical mile orbit.
http://www.spaceuk.org/hydrogen/SP510.htm

wat else ?
 

JFC Fuller

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Michel,

I think the Cuckoo was replaced quite quickly by the Kestrel which was proposed for the 54 inch Black Knight that ultimately made its way into Black Prince. I am however not aware of Black Prince being proposed with this sold fuelled element.

Both the RAE and Saunders Roe designed Liquid Hydrogen rockets for black Prince though the RAE version seems to have been the better solution.

The standard liquid fuel motor would be the Armstrong Siddeley PR.38.
 

Michel Van

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THX for picture Barrington Bond

on pic Aircraft Engineering Oct 1961
Interresting, it show second stage based on French Hardware of Diamant Rocket
 

blackstar

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Barrington Bond said:
RAF Flying Review November 1961
That's a great illustration. But there's no launch escape system.
 

CNH

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A payload of 2000lb. Unfortunately the Mercury capsule weighed 4265 lb on launch and 2986 after jettison of the escape tower.
 

Barrington Bond

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I posted the first picture some time ago but didn't know what mag or year it came from but I have found a similar picture in Interavia No 8 1959 of the 23rd Paris Airshow. The question is are the rockets to the front of the picture anything to do with Blue Streak? The display does look slightly different in the 2nd picture.
 

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carmelo

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Remember to me the final of an old, delightful movie with Peter Sellers: "Heavens Above"!
 

alertken

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fredgell, 3/5/10: DH took 33.3% of Saro, 9/56. Westland tookover Saro helicopter, 14/7/59, HSAL tookover DH's aircraft (not Engine or Props), 17/12/59. I don't know when the DH equity in Saro was sold. The purpose of the purchase was SR.177, which would have been built at Christchurch, flown from a DH site at Hurn, powered by DH Engine's Gyron Jr and Spectre.

RAE (RPE) had trickled on with V2-derived schemes after the Hammer programme had been abandoned in 1947 as being of no military value, and unaffordable. US advances by early-1954 in I.N guidance and small, but very big bangs, restored military purpose, but Skylark began inside ROF Woolwich, not in politicians' faces. Churchill's decision 26/7/54 to do Blue Streak then led to Bristol Aerojet, Saro (Black Knight), and (after unsuccessful woo-ing by MoS of EE), DH getting into British ballistics. Sandys accessed Atlas data and off we went with "UK"'s Blue Streak...with kit/data from Rocketdyne, Convair, Bosch Arma (and from 1958, US' Mk.28 warhead).

PM Eden, then PM Macmillan judged the Defence budget to be an unsustainable facade, diverting resources from civil exports (£ remained protected, unconvertible, until 1958). There was never the political intent to turn the puffnotions of small aero teams into drain-programmes duplicating US'. We had quite sufficient pain trying to do squiblike SAMs, ATMs, ASMs, Ikara-underwaterthings.
 

Spark

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Hi Barry,
My opinion is yes, number eleven from the FIFTY a year Stevenage Blue Streak production line was as a SLV to be launched with dummy upper stages.
The upper stages were to be developed in parallel and I have the impression that they could also be used as a SLV package for small sats.
Remember TSR2 was to have had as a part of an integrated weapons system the use of a Blue Strak launched secure satellite communications net. This was cancelled early sixties and talk was for a high flying Vulcan to act as a relay platform!
The question is what company was working on the project for the upper stages and from the size of the second stage would it have been LH/LOX, thinking of propellant density would HTP be too heavy for Blue Streak at that time with a RZ12 first stage?

Remember the Blue Streak LRBM was the public face for the far more important UK/Commonwealth Military Space programme!


Barrington Bond said:
I posted the first picture some time ago but didn't know what mag or year it came from but I have found a similar picture in Interavia No 8 1959 of the 23rd Paris Airshow. The question is are the rockets to the front of the picture anything to do with Blue Streak? The display does look slightly different in the 2nd picture.
 

JFC Fuller

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Smurf,

What is your source for the TSR-2 Satcom network? I am assuming that Skynet 1 would some how be linked to such a plan.
 

Spark

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Radio programme about the time time of TSR2 cancellation, the cancellation of the sat system was stated to be some time previous
plus an article written some time later. I think a RAF year book had a cutaway with the arial at the top tail listed as dedicated for satellite use. Low level real time data transfer from low level needs something high up as a reciever or as a relay back to UK and I remember thinking the Vulcan was a bit of a let down compared with what was originally planned.



sealordlawrence said:
Smurf,

What is your source for the TSR-2 Satcom network? I am assuming that Skynet 1 would some how be linked to such a plan.
 

blackstar

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Spark said:
Radio programme about the time time of TSR2 cancellation, the cancellation of the sat system was stated to be some time previous
plus an article written some time later. I think a RAF year book had a cutaway with the arial at the top tail listed as dedicated for satellite use. Low level real time data transfer from low level needs something high up as a reciever or as a relay back to UK and I remember thinking the Vulcan was a bit of a let down compared with what was originally planned.
If accurate, that seems rather ambitious, bordering on crazy. Not even the USAF was doing satellite comm with aircraft at this time, and I don't think they acquired such a capability until the latter 1970s. For a non-space power to be discussing it in the first half of the 1960s would require a lot of leaps of faith.
 

CJGibson

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That was the same non-space power that in 1962 threw out OR.355 (TSR2 follow-on, Tactical Strike Reconnaissance Interception, nee OR.354) as being too conservative, only to return with a revised AST that incuded utilising the destructive effect of lasers and some means to increase the rate and range of reconnaissance data transmission. I read that as laser weapons and satellite data transmission. Also the use of air-launched drones for reconnaissance. All in an airframe capable of sea level to 150000ft and Mach 0.9 to Mach 4.0.

Pie in the sky methinks, but shows remarkable foresight.

Chris
 

JFC Fuller

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Well foresight tends to be the product of requirement which when money allows tends to lead to R&D and ultimately procurement. I would be curious to see if any details of this ever emerge.
 

CNH

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I would be extraordinarily surprised, given the period, if any sat com system had been proposed for TSR2.
 

Barrington Bond

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Dear CNH.

do you have any ideas about the 2 Brittannic cargo loads I posted as to what the rockets may be?

Regards,
Barry
 

JFC Fuller

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CNH said:
I would be extraordinarily surprised, given the period, if any sat com system had been proposed for TSR2.
That was my thought as well, especially given the state of satcom technology when TSR-2 was being proposed and developed. Lets be frank, TSR-2 conception began in 1957 and Ariel-1 was not launched until 1962 and that was constructed in the US and basically just carried some ionospheric and X-ray experiments. The first all British satellite (Ariel-3) was not launched until 1967 and that was also just a flying lab. Although it should be noted that British writer Arthur C Clarke first wrote about the possibility of communications satellites in 1945 and the US launched Syncom 1 in 1963.
 

blackstar

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sealordlawrence said:
That was my thought as well, especially given the state of satcom technology when TSR-2 was being proposed and developed. Lets be frank, TSR-2 conception began in 1957 and Ariel-1 was not launched until 1962 and that was constructed in the US and basically just carried some ionospheric and X-ray experiments. The first all British satellite (Ariel-3) was not launched until 1967 and that was also just a flying lab. Although it should be noted that British writer Arthur C Clarke first wrote about the possibility of communications satellites in 1945 and the US launched Syncom 1 in 1963.
Yup. The first IDCSP military comsats were launched by the USAF in 1966. But it was a pretty crude system--the satellites required really big dishes on the ground that had to track them in orbit (i.e. the dishes had to move).
 

CNH

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do you have any ideas about the 2 Brittannic cargo loads I posted as to what the rockets may be?
Which are they?

Reading thru some previous postings, a couple of points:

1. SLAVE had nothing to do with Blue Streak;

2. King-Hele's paper on reconnaissance by satellite led to the earliest Blue Streak launcher proposals, altho the recce sats idea died a death in '59;

3. Original idea was BS + 36" BK - this lead to problems, so 54 inch second stage. Even this was too narrow, so SR was asked to look at larger stages. This was in early ELDO days, so the SR stage was sketched in at 2.0m diameter - hence the 2.0m diameter of Black Arrow.

4. RAE's idea of comsats was fairly basic - they were interested in the 8hr and 12hr orbits simply because a UK Blue Streak launcher wasn't powerful enough for a 24 hour orbit.

5. Ideas as to larger BS or multiple BS launchers should be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Someday someone might find the fag packet they were sketched out on. It is important to realise that ideas put forward by firms, or individuals working for those firms, bore very little relationship to the client's [the UK Government] requirements. It's a bit like selling a super mouse trap to someone who doesn't have a rodent problem.
 

JFC Fuller

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CNH, do you know when the RAE first started to consider comsats? The earliest reference I have seen so far is to a 1961 study undertaken between the RAE and the Post Office and a similar study by the British Satellite Development Company (GKC Pardoe). I am assuming that the recon satellite idea dies because of the problems associated with getting the imagery back to earth, or were there other factors at play?
 

CNH

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RAE and comsats? Not sure. They don't seem to have been involved in either Telstar or Skynet. Their only interest seems to be in the launcher aspect.

The recce sats die, I assume, because the US is doing it and giving us the info. The PRO file closes just before the 59 election.
 

blackstar

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CNH said:
RAE and comsats? Not sure. They don't seem to have been involved in either Telstar or Skynet. Their only interest seems to be in the launcher aspect.

The recce sats die, I assume, because the US is doing it and giving us the info. The PRO file closes just before the 59 election.
What do you have on British reconsats discussed in this time period?

I seem to remember that there is some basic information available, but my brain is musty on details.
 

CNH

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It's all in the PRO.

The RAE was looking at techniques for recce in the early 50s.

'“Towards the end of 1954 the DRPC appointed a working party to consider the problems of long-range reconnaissance. This working party reported in November 1955 and one of the recommendations in the report was that the most promising line of research and development would be an orbiting satellite to carry optical reconnaissance equipment.” [AVIA 65 352]

The first major study into reconnaissance satellites, following the DRPC recommendations, was carried out by Desmond King Hele of GW Department, RAE. The problems as he saw them were:
(1) Providing adequate propulsion and structure, without exceeding the stringent limits on weight;
(2) Methods of guidance, control, and power generation;
and
(3) Recording and transmitting it back to earth a picture of interesting territory which the satellite passes over.
As to the resolution obtainable:
A continuous strip record would be taken while over interesting territory, by infra-red photography. This record would be processed or otherwise stored until transmission back to the ground, which would take place over friendly territory at low data rate. For an orbital altitude of 200 n.miles quite good resolution, 100 – 200 ft, should be obtainable with a camera of about 50'' focal length, and a strip 40 - 50 miles could be covered.
[DSIR 23 25364]

This then leads into his consideration of BS + BK as a potential launcher in a later GW Department (GW 455) report of May 1957, entitled ‘The Use of Blue Streak with Black Knight in a Satellite Missile’
[AVIA 6/19852 or DSIR 23/25537]

His recce satellite study begins with these opening paragraphs:

"Escaping from the earth, this 'dim vast vale of tears', has long been one of man's recurrent dreams, a dream enshrined in primitive myth and exploited in many later European writings, among them Dante's famous 'Divina Commedia', which includes visits to all the known planets, the sphere of the fixed stars, and beyond, even to the empyrean. Neither Dante nor most of his successors could specify a realistic means of propulsion, and it is only since the advent of the modern rocket motor the dream has shown any possibility of being fulfilled. Now that plans are afoot in Britain for a long-range ballistic rocket missile, the first step towards fulfilment - an unmanned satellite circling the Earth - has advanced beyond a possibility to a logical development.
The equally recurrent military need for continual reconnaissance also appears to be satisfied by a satellite vehicle, provided its launching is not denounced as a warlike act. If launched in high or middle latitudes it will inevitably pass over enemy as well as friendly territory, and much better photographs should be obtained from a satellite than from high altitude aircraft 'peeping over the frontier' through hundreds of miles of haze.
Bringing the satellite safely back to earth would be almost as difficult as placing it in an orbit; so the satellite is here assumed to be expendable, i.e., it is doomed at best to die in a brief blaze of glory, lighting up the night sky to the wonderment of some remote tribe, and at worst to drop with dull thuds in recognisable pieces on an enemy city."

To which there is really no comment.
 

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AIR 20/11345 discusses Military Space Policy including OR.9003 reconnaissance sat amongst other space-related items.

AST.2243 was a joint services target for a communications satelite in an equatorial orbit at 8000 miles. Dated May 1963, the document also discusses using the American SOR.197 as a guideline for the system.

Chris
 

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Kelly Bushings said:
AST.2243 was a joint services target for a communications satelite in an equatorial orbit at 8000 miles. Dated May 1963, the document also discusses using the American SOR.197 as a guideline for the system.
Was AST.2243 intended to be a manned platform, by any chance?
 

JFC Fuller

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Whilst I am sure I am stretching this too far, is it possible that the recon study satellite studies stopped when the UK/US scout satellite programme (Ariel) was agreed on, that occurring in July 1959? Effectively the interests of those previously involved in them (with only limited ministry interest) spending their time on actual, rather than paper, satellites?

Hawker Siddeley seems to have been making fanciful suggestions for a communications satellite network from about 1960 onwards (usual personalities including GKC Pardoe and WF Hilton), clearly an effort at policy nudging with no intention of ever actually having to build such a system. Similarly WF Hilton wrote at least one letter to the New Scientist suggesting that the UK should build a recon satellite and launch it with Blue Streak.
 

CNH

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With due respect, I think the connection between Ariel and a recce sat programme would be tenuous to non existent.

The lack of reality in the programme can be shown by the fact that no camera was chosen, no means of powering the satellite was worked out, no means of storing the data had been devised, and no means of retrieving the data had been established.

King Hele's paper laid out some possibilities, but no actual hardware of any sort was even discussed let alone put togther in any coherent package.

Any Blue Streak based launcher using HTP upper stages would have been struggling, to put it mildly, to place any significant payload into geosynchronous orbit.
 

JFC Fuller

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CNH,

That was my point. The recce satellite appears to have had very little top down support, one gets the impression that the driving force behind it came from the satellite fans working on it and that their interest was more in the satellite part than the recce part. It strikes me that if a real satellite project appeared that interests would soon be diverted in that direction. The UK defence and technology establishment has never been a particularly joined up entity and the existence of paper projects is not always indicative of official policy.
 

blackstar

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sealordlawrence said:
CNH,

That was my point. The recce satellite appears to have had very little top down support, one gets the impression that the driving force behind it came from the satellite fans working on it and that their interest was more in the satellite part than the recce part. It strikes me that if a real satellite project appeared that interests would soon be diverted in that direction. The UK defence and technology establishment has never been a particularly joined up entity and the existence of paper projects is not always indicative of official policy.
I'm not an expert on British space programs by any means (American reconsats, yes), but it would be worthwhile to compare what was going on in the UK to what was appearing in the American press at the same time. The USAF Samos program was actually getting a fair amount of attention in the American press ca 1958-1959. In fact, it was getting too much and making people uncomfortable in senior US intelligence circles. I suspect that the British were reading all of this stuff and getting their own ideas.

I am not sure when the US decided to share its CORONA satellite photography with the UK, but my suspicion is that: a) the US had already promised to share Samos photography even before Samos was flying, and b) CORONA's existence was covert, so the same promise was probably not made until AFTER it started returning photography. My guess is that it was in 1961 or 1962.
 

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I agree up to a point, but remember the primary objective would be transmission from aircraft via relay to base.

Charles Martin said that he could not find copies of drawings of the original Military Big Blue Streaks but gave me drawings of the proposed civil ELDO 4RZ2 and 5RZ2 launch vehicles and said they were just about the same and would they do?

He also gave me a drawing of a proposed Double combined Blue Streak with two engines each with at least twice the thrust of RZ2.

NOTE the launch pads 6A and 6B with the gantries were built to take these sixteen foot diameter vehicles with up to a million pounds thrust!

PM Macmillan said cut the costs save money so building facilities that large would not have been undertaken with out the intent of using them.

The cost of all this development work was just over half of what was spent on UK farmers subsidy for egg production.

What was the purpose of developing military Blue Streak SLV? .....for UK/ Commonwealth satellites!

Hansard in 1960 reports on the fact that I think it was Hawkers were developing a Recon Sat that could be used for civil work.



blackstar said:
Spark said:
Radio programme about the time time of TSR2 cancellation, the cancellation of the sat system was stated to be some time previous
plus an article written some time later. I think a RAF year book had a cutaway with the arial at the top tail listed as dedicated for satellite use. Low level real time data transfer from low level needs something high up as a reciever or as a relay back to UK and I remember thinking the Vulcan was a bit of a let down compared with what was originally planned.
If accurate, that seems rather ambitious, bordering on crazy. Not even the USAF was doing satellite comm with aircraft at this time, and I don't think they acquired such a capability until the latter 1970s. For a non-space power to be discussing it in the first half of the 1960s would require a lot of leaps of faith.
 

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There is no mention of any enlarged military Blue Styreak in any official papers. Indeed, it would be difficult to think of any military use of such a vehicle. There was never any intention of developing a military BS SLV - indeed, when 'Black Prince' was promoted after the military cancellation, Watkinson did promise some money from the defence budget, but against the advice of his civil service.

The only four engined Rolls Royce design using the RZ2 was produced by Cleaver as a possibility for Europa III, and for fairly obvious political reasons, the French design was chosen instead.

As to recce sats - the DRPC were interested in the possibility, and thus King Hele was tasked to investigate the problems, which he did. It was never taken much further by the powers that be, presumably because the need for reconnaissance had diminished.
 

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Taken from “THE BLUE STREAK WEAPON”1
By Roy Dommett2


"UK studies for a three-man crew in orbit were done by several firms,
for example Armstrong-Whitworth, 91"

They needed the 4 or 5 RZ2 large Blue Streak or the Big English Electric Alternative to launch such a vehicle but the latter dropped out of the frame circa 1956
The Woomera launch pads and gantries were sized to these vehicles.


91 "Armstrong-Whitworth: a UK aerospace firm that merged with Gloster in 1961
within the Hawker Siddeley Group and then, in 1963, all became Hawker
Siddeley Aviation."

Pressure to merge firms started in 1957 so the studies were probably prior to that.

"English Electric was eased out. They had major aircraft projects in
hand. English Electric had the first shock tube in the UK that could
measure aerodynamic heating. The company was initially tasked with the
promising, but initially alternative, ablative heat shield re-entry head
design, but soon faded out of the scene, although this was eventually the
preferred design solution."

I first read about the EE ICBM circa 1956 and this is still a puzzle why this passed the censor.

"It had stretch potential, the motors could have
developed a higher maximum thrust, as well as be throttleable. It also
could have switched later on to UK storable propellants."

Ian Smith told me that rolls Royce were working on such an engine before the cancellation


"The Cold War engagements between Western bloc spy-planes and
the growing Soviet defences was a constant stimulus to aircraft
developments on both sides. Between 1946 and 1956 up to 50 Western
bloc aircraft were lost on surveillance missions."

Reason to build Space platforms with men to observe the Soviet Hinterland

"None of the early RAE or de Havilland panel minutes
have been traced in private or heritage collections, nor have the semiannual
reports complied by G. Pardoe for de Havillands with their many
photographs, of which copies were sent to the US Mutual Weapons
Office in Paris."

Weeded?


The evidence exists but is limited
The fact that the official sources are so well weeded indicates how important the work was.

Hansard has reports of UK satellites work circa 1960.




CNH said:
There is no mention of any enlarged military Blue Styreak in any official papers. Indeed, it would be difficult to think of any military use of such a vehicle. There was never any intention of developing a military BS SLV - indeed, when 'Black Prince' was promoted after the military cancellation, Watkinson did promise some money from the defence budget, but against the advice of his civil service.

The only four engined Rolls Royce design using the RZ2 was produced by Cleaver as a possibility for Europa III, and for fairly obvious political reasons, the French design was chosen instead.

As to recce sats - the DRPC were interested in the possibility, and thus King Hele was tasked to investigate the problems, which he did. It was never taken much further by the powers that be, presumably because the need for reconnaissance had diminished.
 

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"UK studies for a three-man crew in orbit were done by several firms,
for example Armstrong-Whitworth, 91"
Not in Roy Dommett's article. I've never heard Roy make any reference to such a design.

The Woomera launch pads and gantries were sized to these vehicles
You have a reference for this?

English Electric may well have been 'eased out', but the workings of the Ministry of Supply were often designed to parcel out work to firms almost irrespective of merit.

The fact that the official sources are so well weeded indicates how important the work was.
Actually, it's possible to argue the direct opposite. What's the point of keeping files that have no relevance?

Hansard has reports of UK satellites work circa 1960.
1959. And?
 

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To add to CNH's comment.

"The Cold War engagements between Western bloc spy-planes and
the growing Soviet defences was a constant stimulus to aircraft
developments on both sides. Between 1946 and 1956 up to 50 Western
bloc aircraft were lost on surveillance missions."

Roy Dommett does not use this to justify recon sats but rather for the development of Blue Streak as a weapons delivery platform.

That EE clearly did allot of work on IRBM's in the run up to Blue Streak is indisputable, as is the fact that there is probably more info in the archives about this.
 

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Oh, indeed - Bedford did a lot of work on behalf of EE. It just didn't include any designs for any hardware. Without that, you can't make any judgment as to the value of their work.

Blue Strak began life as an MRBM. Others saw that, rather like R7, the design could be turned to the launching of satellites. Whether you needed to launch satellites is another matter. It can be argued that the UK in the 50s and 60s had no real need - hence no launcher.
 

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Prospero
The Blue Streak Weapon
Roy Dommett
page 31 of the download article

UK studies for a three-man crew in orbit were done by several firms, for example Armstrong Whitworth, and for a while the RAF had an Air Staff Target, OR 9001, issued in April 1962, and held a conference on the possibility about August 1963. Blue Streak as it stood would have been too small, it probably needed a four-engined first stage to obtain adequate lift into orbit.

Above the exact quote from the article, which I assume is referring to their "Pyramid" design.
Regards,
Barry
 
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