At around 6am this morning (BST) the last Skylark sounding rocket blasted off from Swedish Space Corporation’s Esrange site, near Kiruna Sweeden.
The Skylark was the last wholly designed UK rocket. First concived in 1955, the Skylark was at the forefront of low budget UK space science. In the 50 years since it first flew, the Skylark project has launched over 440 rockets carrying payloads designed to investigate everything from X-ray sources in deepspace to protein growth and frogspawn fertilisation in microgravity.
All future suborbital launches will now be made with the more expensive American-built Oriole sounding rockets. Truly the end of an era in UK space science.
Edit: The launch finally took place on Monday 2nd of May 2005 instead of Sunday 1st of May.