Black Arrow

Black Arrow launching Prospero

Black Arrow launches Prospero from Woomera on October 28, 1971.

Black Arrow was a British three-stage rocket whose development began in 1964 under direction of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. It stood 13 m high, weighed 18.1 tons at takeoff, and could launch nearly 100 kg into low Earth orbit.


Following a failed first attempt at suborbital flight in June 1969, a second launch in March 1970 was successful. In September 1970 Black Arrow's initial attempt to reach orbit failed following a premature second stage shutdown, and in July 1971 the British government decided to drop the program. However, one further launch took place, in October 1971, which successfully placed the Prospero satellite in orbit.