UK rocket on display after decades in Australian Outback

The only British rocket to launch a satellite into orbit is going on display after almost 50 years languishing in the Australian Outback.

The Black Arrow programme completed four rockets between 1969 and 1971, with the third flight marking the first and only successful UK-led orbital launch.

A six-metre section of the projectile crash-landed in South Australia where it has lain for 48 years.

Black Arrow rocket
The rocket has travelled 10,000 miles to return to the UK from Australia (Skyrora/PA)

Space industry figures are expected to attend its unveiling in Midlothian on Friday following a 10,000-mile journey back to the UK.

There will be speeches by representatives from the UK Space Agency, the Royal Air Force, and the London Science Museum.

The rocket, which is being exhibited in a storage facility in Penicuik, was returned by Edinburgh space company Skyrora to be used for educational purposes.

Skyrora director Daniel Smith said: “With the UK government’s aim to make us a launch nation again, it seemed like the perfect time to bring Black Arrow back.

“We hope it’s a reminder not only to our own team, but to everyone that’s part of the new commercial space race of what’s been accomplished before.

“It has been some journey – we wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of the William Creek Progress Association and the Australian Government, so we’re extremely grateful to both.

“We really hope the rocket will help to inspire current and future generations of scientists and engineers.”

In July last year the UK Space Agency announced £2.5 million of funding for a proposed vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland.