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Launch Vehicle - Black Knight
The information below is an edited version of a report entitled "A Summary of "Black Knight" Flight Data from 1958 to 1962", written by H.W.B. Gordon B.A. and L.W. Parkin MSc, which may be found in the Public Record Office, Kew [part of AVIA 6 17362]. The report was published in February 1964. It is incomplete in the sense that the Black Knight programme was not yet complete, but since it was declassified only in 1995, we may have to wait for the rest of the data. From 1958 to 1962, fourteen "Black Knight" ballistic research vehicles were launched at Woomera. The first two were vehicle proving flights, being single stage rounds fitted with non-separating heads. Of the remaining twelve, six were single-stage and six two-stage rounds; separating heads were fitted on all twelve. The Gamma engine, specially developed and built for Black Knight was used throughout as the first stage motor. The first version to be developed, the Gamma 201, was used for the first twelve firings and the Gamma 301, being a modification incorporating automatic mixture-ratio control, was used in the last two firings. The second stage was added to provide greater re-entry velocity. In all such firings the Cuckoo Mk.I solid propellant motor was used, firing downwards after apogee. The main purpose of the firings with the separating heads has been to obtain data on the behaviour of the head during re-entry into the atmosphere. In the two firings using the Gamma 301 engine, of equal importance was the proving of the vehicle, in particular the new engine and certain other new features on the second stage which would be required for the future DAZZLE programme of firings . The present Note gives a brief description of each vehicle fired, and summarises the results obtained. Only in certain cases have these results been discussed in any detail, viz. where they have led to important modifications.
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BK02, BK10 and BK 22 were not flown.