The Skylark Project was the result of the desire to commence a program
of Upper Atmosphere research.
D.I. Dawton produced detailed performance for a single-stage vehicle which
was to be capable of carrying approximately 45 Kg of instruments to heights
in excess of 150 Km. His design relied on a then hypothetical motor which
had to produce 50 KN thrust for at least 30 seconds (Isp of approx 1590 KNs).
This hypothetical motor was to be developed from an existing one. It was to
have a diameter of 44 cm, but was to be 3 times as long and utilize a
The main decisions on the size, weight and configuration of the rocket
required for the research was made in mid-1955.
Initially the rocket was known as the CTV5 Series III which was the last of
the aptly named Test Vehicles.
The structural design of the rocket head and fins was relatively easy due to
the large weight of the rocket (approx total 1170 Kg, Motor (full) 1020 (empty)
By early 1956 and after some gentle persuasion official agreement was given
to rename the vehicle from CTV5 Series III to the more commonly used nickname
The first Skylark design consisted of a single stage which utilized a Raven
solid rocket motor. The rocket had a diameter of 44 cm at its thickest point
and stood approximately 7.5 m high (depending on the payload instrumentation
Skylark rockets were single stage until April 1960 when the Skylark was
converted to a two stage launch vehicle. The original Skylark became the
second stage and a quick burning Cuckoo motor became the first stage.
After February 1968, the Cuckoo was slowly replaced by the more powerful
The skylark was unguided in flight. It was basically 'pointed' by small
adjustments made to the launch tower and the prevailing wind conditions
at the time of the launch.
Even though the skylark had a substantial fin configuration, they did
not provide aerodynamic stability until the vehicle reached a certain speed.
This meant that the launch tower for skylark had to guide/stabilize the
vehicle until it reached the required speed. This explains the size of the
launch tower (30 m).
Sadly the Skylark launch vehicle is no longer in use at Woomera.
However, It is
still launched from the
Andoya (Norway) rocket ranges.
- Skylark 10A
- Skylark 7
- Skylark 11
- Skylark 12
|Period of Use:
||1957 - ????
||45 - 68 Kg