08/05/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin
The last embers of the British space progamme have gone out.
The last Skylark rocket, the MASER 10, was launched from Swedish Space Corporation's launching facility Esrange, outside Kiruna in the north of Sweden. It was the final mission of the Skylark British rocket motor.
MASER 10 reached an apogee of 252 km and a top speed of approx. 2 km/sec. The experiments onboard spent six minutes in microgravity and worked perfectly during the flight. The payload is now recovered and back at Esrange. Due to a parachute system failure, the impact was very hard and the payload was damaged.
"However, all indications show that the scientific objectives have been fulfilled. Right now, we are almost certain that the far majority of all scientific samples are intact for further analysis and that the data stored onboard is readable", says Wolfgang Herfs, ESA.
MASER is a Swedish rocket programme for microgravity research managed by SSC on behalf of the European Space Agency. MASER 10 carried five scientific experiments onboard, two biology experiments and three fluid physics experiments.
We could have been a contender. In some parallel universe the RAF dominate space the Union Jack flies proudly on Mars.
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