blue streak rocket spadeadam

Blue Streak was a British medium range ballistic missile (MRBM), and later the first stage of the Europa satellite launch vehicle.

In 1955, the open and largely uninhabited moorland to the north of Gilsland, Cumbria, was selected as the site for the Spadeadam Rocket Establishment. During a subsequent visit to RAF Spadeadam, members were able to see the operational control centre. This was called the Blue Streak Project and was made up of a consortium of companies including De-Havilland, Rolls Royce and British Oxygen.

This intermediate range ballistic missile was granted Grade II listed status as it is only one of two remaining. Its role was to support the development of the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) Blue Streak; this was based on the American Atlas missile, but wholly British built.

One section of a Blue Streak rocket has been preserved in all its splendour close to the guardhouse. The Blue Streak became the first stage of the Europa rocket, carrying a French second stage, a German third stage, an Italian payload and Dutch fairings. The project was intended to maintain an independent British nuclear deterrent, replacing the V bomber fleet which would become obsolete by 1965. The facilities lie within the bounds of RAF Spadeadam and were designed for the static firing of engines and launch vehicles. The 9000-acre site now occupied by the Range used to be known as the Spadeadam Wastes, mostly remote and uninhabited, until 1957 when the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Test Centre was built. Blue Streak was cancelled without entering full production. A Blue Streak rocket at RAF Spadeadam, Carlisle, Cumbria. This utilised the Blue Streak rocket as the first-stage of a composite space vehicle designed to deploy satellites in orbit. Rocket test facilities were established in 1956, in support of the wholly British programme to develop the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, named Blue Streak. The fuel tank section of the rocket is about 50 feet long with a multitude of wires and cables still hanging out from one end. Although Blue Streak’s life as a military weapon had ended in 1960, it was immediately assigned to the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) project.

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