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Spadeadam Rocket Establishment

Spadeadam Rocket Establishment

Full name of site:

Spadeadam Rocket Establishment

Location:

RAF Spadeadam, Gilsland, Brampton CA8 7AT, Storbritannien

Operational period:

1958

to

1973

Primary user:

Rolls-Royce

Description:

Spadeadam Rocket Establishment was established in the late 1950s for the testing of Britain’s proposed intermediate range ballistic missile - Blue Streak.

The test stands were modelled on Rocketdyne’s facilities in the United States and in turn provided prototypes for launch stands in Woomera, Australia. Work also began on an experimental underground launcher, although abandoned by the United Kingdom the design concept influenced the later United States Titan missile silos.

The missile programme was cancelled in 1960, but after the formation of the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) in 1962 the missile was repurposed as the first stage launch vehicle for the planned Europa 1 rocket. By 1971 this project too had been cancelled and the test facilities were stripped of any salvageable items.

The area was later taken over by the RAF as an electronic warfare range, a role it retains today. Most the specialised test structures are protected as scheduled monuments.

Ownership:

Ministry of Defence

Valuation of authenticity and integrity:

Most of the metal work from the teststands was scrapped during the 1970s. However, the massive concrete teststands and associated facilities represent a rare example of a large missile test facility.

Status and access:

The area is now operated as RAF Spadeadam an electronic warfare range, no public access.