Audio Bob Brown recalls the launch of the Blue Streak, 2006

TLF ID R8846

This is an edited sound recording of Bob Brown recalling the excitement in Woomera in South Australia at the intended first launch of a Europa Blue Streak rocket from the nearby rocket range in June 1964. He tells how hundreds of families gathered to watch, only to be let down when the launch was cancelled with just seconds of the countdown to go. He also describes the sound and sight of the rocket when the launch actually took place without fanfare several days later on 5 June. The recording was made in December 2006 and lasts for 1 min 58 s.



Educational details

Educational value
  • The recording is a first-hand account by a resident of Woomera when the Blue Streak experimental rocket was first launched. The rocket was a project of the European Launch Development Organisation involving seven European countries. Originally developed as a British missile able to carry a nuclear warhead for up to 4,000 km, the Blue Streak was supposed to be the first stage of a system to carry Europe's first satellite into space.
  • Brown, aged 13 at the time, reveals how those in charge of the Blue Streak launch catered for a high level of public interest among the people of Woomera by building a special public viewing area from where the rocket could be seen, with the help of binoculars and telescopes, on the launch pad. He describes how a large crowd gathered in 'a picnic atmosphere', and he imitates the aborted countdown that was broadcast to the crowd through a public address system.
  • A total of ten Blue Streak rockets, made by the de Havilland Aircraft Company in England, were launched at Woomera in 1964-65. All the launches were successful. However, when combined with the second and third stages (French and German respectively) the proposed satellite launch system failed on several occasions. In 1968 the British Government cancelled the Blue Streak program, marking the end of British involvement in advanced rocketry.
  • The Woomera rocket range contains a number of launch sites in an area covering 270,000 sq km in central SA. Britain initially asked Australia to provide a remote and sparsely populated area where it could develop its military capabilities, notably with missile technology and ballistics. The range was used from 1949 to test bombs, rockets and missiles.
Year level

4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • history;
  • studies of society and environment
Strand
  • History/Historical knowledge and understandings
  • Studies of society and environment/Time, continuity and change

Other details

Contributors
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia
  • Content provider
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 2006
  • Name: Bob Brown
  • Remarks: speaker
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
Learning resource type
  • Sound
Browsers
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
  • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
  • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
Operating systems
  • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
Rights
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.