Waxwing (Rocket motor)

Waxwing (Rocket motor)

Waxwing was a British solid rocket motor used for apogee kick as the 3rd (upper) stage of the Black Arrow satellite launch vehicles. Waxwing was used to successfully place the Prospero X-3 satellite into low Earth orbit on 28 October 1971, Britain's only satellite launch on an indigenously-developed launch vehicle.

Another use of Waxwing was to increase the velocity of test re-entry vehicles on Black Knight during tests for the Blue Streak missile.[1]

Design and development

Design was by the Rocket Propulsion Establishment (RPE) at Westcott and it was manufactured by Bristol Aerojet.[2] The casing was spherical and the propellant grain used an internal star profile to control the initial burn rate.

  • Thrust: 3,000 kgf
    0.27 tonnes [3]
  • Specific impulse: 278 s
  • Burn time: 28 s
    40 seconds [3]
  • Dimensions:[4]
    • Diameter: 28 in (0.71 m)
    • Overall length: 52 in (1.3 m)
    • Nozzle length: 22 in (0.56 m)
    • Nozzle diameter: 18 in (0.46 m)

See also


  • Astronautix Page