1964 to 1970

The ELDO (a consortium of the United Kingdom (UK), France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Australia) uses the Woomera Rocket Range as its launch site for development test flights of the Europa 1 satellite launch vehicle.

In 1964-65, the British ‘Blue Streak’ first stage is tested with three flights along the north-western missile corridor (overflying south-west NT).

From 1966, progressive test flights of the entire Europa 1 vehicle, including satellite launch attempts, are fired along a northern satellite launch corridor, which overflies the NT. During these flights, the first stage of the rocket impacts in the NT, at the north of the Simpson Desert. The second stage impacts in the sea beyond Papua New Guinea.

There are 10 ELDO launches from Woomera, but none successfully launches a satellite (see ELDO launch summary below). To protect local inhabitants, ‘rocket shelters’ are constructed at station homesteads and other locations overflown by the Europa vehicles. These are very similar in design to shelters constructed for South Australian properties beneath the planned flightpaths in the 1950s.

ELDO launch summary
Flight Launch date Vehicle configurationRemarks
F-1 5 June 1964 First stage only Partial success
F-2 20 October 1964 First stage only Successful
F-3 22 March 1965 First stage only Successful
F-4 24 May 1966 Active first stage with dummy upper stages and dummy satellite Flight terminated at 136 seconds after launch
F-5 13 November 1966 Active first stage with dummy upper stages and dummy satellite Successful
F-6/1 4 August 1967 Active first and second stages, dummy third stage and satellite Second stage failed to ignite
F-6/2 5 December 1967 Active first and second stages, dummy third stage and satellite First / second stage separation failed
F-7 30 November 1968 All stages active, live satellite Third stage exploded
F-8 3 July 1969 All stages active, live satellite Third stage exploded
F-9 12 June 1970 All stages active, live satellite All stages successful, satellite failed to orbit

Last updated: 18 November 2019

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