/javascript" src="static/js/analytics.js"> Woomera Rocket Range Australia UFO

Dr Carol Rosin was the first female corporate manager of Fairchild Industries and was spokesperson for NASA rocket scientist Werner Von Braun in his later years.

She has testified before Congress on many occasions about space-based weapons.

Von Braun revealed to Dr Rosin a plan to justify weapons in space, based on hoaxing first, a Russian threat, then a terrorist threat, an asteroid threat, then finally an extraterrestrial threat.

(Rosin was also present at meetings in the 1970's when the scenario for the Gulf War of the 1990's was planned.)

March 27, 2002: Rocket lifts Chinese closer to space goal

December 18, 2001: Protestors raid Australian nuclear reactor - Lucas Heights.

Belconnen: A Secret NATO Base in Australia?

The Kelly Cahill Encounter
Cahill's encounter occurred in 1993 when she was driving past a strip of grassy land in Melbourne.

The Guyra Dam Splashdown


North West Cape


Pine Gap

Victoria's NCSA and the mysterious John Friedrich

The Sale Air Force Base and UFO's

Tully, Queensland

Frederick Valentich

Victoria, Australia. Encounter concentration flap of 1999

Peter Khoury, Bill Chalker and alien DNA.

October 31, 2001: Twenty crop circles have appeared on the property of farmer Don White at his property in Victoria, Australia.

October 30, 2001. Faster than sound: scramjet testing in Australia.

October 4, 2001: An Australian woman claimed to have been abducted by a UFO from the Northern Queensland town of Gundiah. The woman appeared 2 or 3 hours later in the town of Mackay 700km away.

July 21, 2001: A triangular UFO was seen and filmed over Melbourne

UFO's are man-made!

The British Saucer Project

In 1973 British Rail was granted a patent for a 'Space Vehicle', which explains in detail how to construct a nuclear powered flying-saucer seating 22 passengers.

The proposed space craft works on the basic principle of nuclear fusion. The jet of fuel - which could be types of hydrogen - is fired through a nozzle at the bottom of the saucer.

Click here for more on the British saucer project and our theory on the origins and purposes of the disk.

Woomera Rocket Range

The township of Woomera is located approximately 480km northeast of Adelaide, South Australia, within the boundaries of Arcoona station. 

Founded in 1946, for 30 years Woomera  - which now houses an archaic refugee detention centre - functioned as the support and residential base for the largest overland rocket and missile testing range in the Western world.

It has also been referred to as Australia's own Area 51 and said to have been the scene of much UFO testing in the 1950's. 

It has been speculated that saucers captured from the Nazis and the craft developed by British scientists were tested at Woomera.

Woomera is still used in rocketry and space research.

A recent article stated that Woomera's role has changed recently from a support base for a rocket range and defence research and development, to that of a residential and support area for the Joint Defence Facility at Nurrungar (JDFN), which was established in 1970 as part of the US Defence Support Program (DSP). 

This facility is jointly operated by the 5th Space Warning Squadron, part of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, the Australian Defence Forces and contractor personnel. 

It is a ground station for a global strategic satellite surveillance system known as the "Defence Support Program", or DSP. The role of the DSP is to detect the launch of missiles and above ground nuclear detonations.

Scroll down for a detailed history of the Woomera Rocket Range and related news stories - 1933-Present Day!

June 27, 2002: New jet to be tested at Woomera

A Japenese-designed supersonic prototype jet will be tested in the Australian desert next month.

The jet, designed to fly at twice the speed of sound with a supersonic boom no louder than the rumble of a Boeing 747, will be tested at Woomera.

National Aeronautics Laboratory of Japan researchers will launch the engineless 10 per cent scale model from a rocket.

Looking like a winged javelin, the jet is designed to have twice the range of Concorde, seat 300 passengers and cut emissions by 75 per cent.

The rocket will release the prototype National Experimental Supersonic Transport (NEXST) at a speed of 2450km/h for a 14-minute test flight scheduled on July 11.

The test will examine the plane's aerodynamic shape and, if successful, more tests will be conducted over the next two years with engines powering the prototype.

Commercial flights could be ready by 2012.

Boeing Corporation vice-president Wade Cornelius is watching the tests closely.

Boeing is developing its own supersonic aircraft, the Sonic Cruiser, but Mr Cornelius said successful testing could lead to a partnership with NAL.

"We've been anticipating this event closely."

Source: Better than a Concorde

July 15, 2002: Crash threatens $360m jet project

A SUPERSONIC model plane crashed in flames seconds after takeoff in the outback yesterday.

Witnesses said the 11m model, a tenth the size of the planned jet, went out of control after it rocketed 100m in the air.

It turned over and began spiraling erratically before slamming into the ground and exploding.

Nobody was injured in the crash at Woomera in South Australia. Both the rocket and the model plane were unmanned.

The model was to have ridden piggyback on a booster rocket, traveling at 2450km/h to a height of 20km, in a 15-minute test flight.

The disastrous crash was a setback to a $360 million Japanese project to build a jet that can travel at twice the speed of sound and fly twice as far as the Concorde with three times as many passengers.

Scientist Kimio Sakata said the model had separated from the rocket for an unknown reason moments after launch.

Researchers were disappointed but would now investigate technology and propulsion systems to determine why the separation happened.

"We have to redesign, remanufacture some of the components of the equipment," Mr Sakata said. "After that, we would like to have another launch."

The team planned to proceed with three more test launches over the next 12 months, he said.

Last October, an experimental rocket crashed after launch at Woomera when its guidance fins moved and sent it off course.


Space Development in the Outback

A.R Smith, H.E Ross and British space travel

The Italian aeronautical technician, Renato Vesco (1924-1999), claimed modern "flying saucers" are the Anglo-Canadian development of very advanced German projects, namely the circular unmanned crafts "Feuerball" and "Kugelblitz".

Vesco was the head of the technical section of the Italian air force and was seen as the Italian counterpart of famous German/American rocket-scientist Werner von Braun

Vesco claimed both of the circular craft were in the prototype stage and maybe they were even flown-tested just at the end of the war.

Vesco and his impressive documentation have been often used by many later authors in order to try to substantiate their empty claims.
From: http://www.naziufos.com/NEWSCL/VESCO.HTM

The very first book of Renato Vesco was published in 1968, but the original manuscript was ready since 1956. Because of job engagements he stopped its publication and went on collecting more material. 

He had enough material to write three large books.

The first one had a Spanish edition and two in US (1971, Grove and 1974, Zebra), soon becoming a reference work for most but all the authors and researchers writing about the highly controversial subject of German "flying saucers". In 1994, the book was nearly fully reprinted within a book edited by D.Childress "Man-Made UFOs 1944-1994".

The third book by Renato Vesco is a thick 553-page volume loaded with a wealth of info. On the ground of some late war German projects (including the Norvegian-based development of the German atom bomb project) and post-war British breakthroughs in aeronautics and astronautics, he pointed out a fascinating but hard-to-believe scenario.

Some theorists hold that British spaceships had been built after blueprints and technology captured in Germany and flown since 1947. In 1951 they landed on the Moon and in 1954 they reached Mars.

Though these claims look quite unlikely and unsubstantiated, most of the evidence and sources offered by Vesco lead to some interesting  considerations about German secret technology and some late '40s and '50s UFO sightings.

Following the Canadian AVRO CAR project rumors, many magazines of the early '50s published news about soon-to-come man-made "flying saucers".

Vesco found in these rumors more background for his theory.

The timeline below includes major dates involving Britain's Space Program, Woomera rocket range, H.E Ross and R.A Smith

1933: The British Interplanetary Society founded

Formed in Liverpool in 1933, The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) is the world's longest established organisation devoted solely to supporting and promoting the exploration of space and astronautics.
The BIS is financially independent, has charitable status and obtains its main income from a worldwide membership. The Society's headquarters are situated in central London.

The BIS spent much of the time until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 designing moon ships. 

From: http://www.bis-spaceflight.com/

1939: R.A Smith designs a moonrocket for the BIS

An drawing by BIS artist R.A Smith of the moon rocket design.

Soon after World War 2, the British, Americans and Russians raced to develop long range missiles and atomic weapons. 

The British, not wanting to depend on the US for protection, chose Australia to develop and test long range missiles because of its political loyalty and large expanses of sparsely inhabited desert. 

February 15, 1946: Australia perfect for rocket tests

Australia's vast unpopulated desert spaces provide an ideal setting for Britain to carry out full-scale atomic experiments according to some British opinion.

The Daily Mail newspaper said in an editorial that the bombing of Hiroshima emphasized the need for the development of atomic energy within the British Empire.

England is too small and overcrowded for full scale testing to be carried out without the threat of widespread disaster in the event of an accident.

The prospect of vast stores of uranium in Australia made it even more obviously the best place for this kind of experiment.

Woomera provided the best 3000 mile land and sea range needed for the project. Only Australia and Canada among the ' dominions' offered relatively uninhabited sites, and Australia was preferred because any Canadian site would have been permanently snow-covered, making it difficult to recover rockets after firing.

Chronicle of the 20th Century
Penguin publishing

November 24, 1946: Australian Government plans rocket range in SA 

Cabinet has come to an arrangement with Britain, which considers the proposed site, Mt Eba, about 200 miles north-west of Port Augusta, to be ideal for the tests.

It is believed that Britain will carry out design and research work on rockets and pilotless aircraft and ship them to Australia to be tested on the range.

From: Chronicle of the 20th Century. Penguin

The north-west of South Australia was transformed into a vast rocket range spanning 130,000 square kilometres (the size of England). 

Woomera was founded in 1946.

December 23, 1946: British scientists propose manned space travel

R.A. Smith and H.E. Ross from the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) submitted a proposal for a "Man-carrying V-2 rocket" to the Ministry of Supply. 

The ministry turned down idea.

Below is H.E. Ross' drawing of the BIS design for a manned sub-orbital flight on a converted German V2. A passenger is visible in a pressure cabin located in the nose of the rocket.

January 9, 1947: British rocket experts arrive in Australia

British rocket experts arrived in Australia to finalise plans for a test site in South Australia. The project continues to draw criticism, despite assurances from the British team that tests will in no way threaten Aborigines living in the central reserve, where the base will be located.

The head of the team, Major General J. Evetts, said initial rocket tests would be carried out without explosive warheads. He also said it would be years before the base became operational, although the first rockets are due to be shipped out in the coming months.

A town must be built at the base, and General Evetts said the project, to be known as Long Range Guided Missiles Organization, would employ many people.

It is estimated that construction will cost £3,000,000, and maintenance a similar amount each year thereafter.

Meanwhile, a committee looking at the project are likely to reject claims that it will endanger aborigines. It admits the breakdown of tribal life will be hastened, but judges this as inevitable anyway.

Chronicle of the 20th Century

On April 1, 1947, the Long Range Weapons Establishment was formed between the United Kingdom and Australia. 

On April 24, the name Woomera selected for the new town associated with the range.

June 27, 1948: City growing out of the Australian desert at Woomera

A rocket range city is growing out of the Australian desert at Woomera., 240 miles north-east of Adelaide. The site, which will be the launching base for the British long range weapons organization, is expected to be operational in about two years, although all target dates are secret.

A bitumen runway and quarters for Army personnel are already under construction at Woomera. The base establishment for the range will be a former munitions factory at Salisbury, 18 miles from Adelaide.

The conversion of the Salisbury site is still very much in the planning stage and it will be 18 months before the first young Australian scientists now being trained in England start work on the weapons project.

Contrary to general belief, the project will concentrate on defensive weapons as well as huge offensive rockets of the type developed in Germany during the war. The work done in Germany is of special interest to those involved in the Australian project.

Chronicle of the 20th Century

November 13, 1948: H. E. Ross predicts manned lunar landings and satellite stations

A paper read to the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) by H. E. Ross described a manned lunar landing mission which would require a combination of the earth orbit and lunar orbit rendezvous techniques.

Three spacecraft would be launched simultaneously into earth orbit, each carrying a pilot. After rendezvous, the crew would transfer to ship A, which would refuel from ships B and C. Ship C would be discarded completely, but ship B would be fueled with the surplus not needed by A. The spacecraft would then be fired into a translunar trajectory. 

Upon reaching the vicinity of the moon, the spacecraft would go into lunar orbit, detach fuel tanks, and descend to the lunar surface. To return to earth, the spacecraft would rendezvous with the fuel tanks, refuel, and fire into a transearth trajectory. 

On approaching the earth, the spacecraft would rendezvous with ship B, the crew would transfer to ship B, and descend to earth. The ability to rendezvous in space was seen to be the essential element of such a project. The total payload weight at launch would be 1,326 tons equally divided among the three ships as compared to 2.6 times this weight required for a direct ascent and return from the moon.

In another paper, Ross described a manned satellite station in Earth orbit that would serve as an astronomical and zero-gravity and vacuum research laboratory.

Ross' suggested design comprised a circular structure that housed the crew of the space laboratory (numbering 24 specialists and support personnel) as well as telescopes and research equipment. 

The station, he suggested, could be re-supplied with oxygen and other life-support essentials by supply ships launched every three months.

H. E. Ross, "Orbital Bases," Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 8
Pages 1-7

1949: H.E. Ross' presents Lunar spacesuit plan

This paper was presented in London at the "Symposium of Medical Problems Associated with Space-Flight" (1949), sponsored by the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). 

Ross's space suit has four fabric layers covered by a thin surface layer of close-woven cloth silvered to reflect sunlight. Boots with 4-cm-thick asbestos soles reduce heat lost to the cold lunar ground at night. The helmet has a small rectangular glass viewport protected from glaring sunlight by a bill and a pull-down visor of blackened glass. Ross points out that internal pressure might cause the helmet to stand too high over the astronaut's head, and suggests that the suit use "internal body-hardness" to hold the helmet at the proper level. This presages hard torso suit designs first flown in the 1970s. 

The backpack carries sufficient compressed oxygen for 12 hours on the moon. Sodium peroxide cartridges absorb carbon dioxide and moisture and release oxygen. 

The backpack also contains radio equipment. Unique features include:

  • silver cape for additional sunlight protection
  • miniature chest-mounted airlock for passing objects in and out of the suit
  • ability to withdraw arms from the suit arms to operate the miniature airlock, eat, and drink
  • optional backpack refrigerator unit for added cooling during daytime moonwalks

"Lunar Spacesuit," H. E. Ross, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
Vol. 9, No. 1
January 1950
pp. 23-37

March 22, 1949: Maiden missile fired from desert

The first test missile was launched from Woomera.

1950: BIS publishes Arthur C. Clarke's plans for electromagnetic lunar take-off

Arthur Clarke, writer, visionary, and British Interplanetary Society Chair, proposes using a track equipped with sequentially activated electromagnets to launch cargoes off the moon. 

Clarke's conceptual "electromagnetic accelerator" has since been adopted by many others - most notably during the 1970s by Gerard O'Neill. Clarke points out that the old concept of using a track to launch piloted spacecraft from Earth is impractical because of:

  • Earth's atmosphere, which causes friction heating of fast-moving objects
  • Track length needed to accelerate a ship to Earth escape velocity (11.2 kilometers per second) at a level of acceleration tolerable by the crew. A track permitting acceleration equal to 10 times Earth's gravity, for example, would have to be 600 kilometers long.
However, neither of these constraints apply to lunar cargo launches. Clarke calculates that cargo could be accelerated at 100 gravities to lunar escape speed (2.3 kilometers per second) on a track only 2 kilometers long. He then proposes reducing space travel costs by making rocket propellant on the moon from lunar minerals and launching it into space in expendable containers to refuel passing spacecraft. 

Orbital mechanics dictate that a container launched by the accelerator will intersect the lunar surface. However, a "trivial" rocket burn could nudge it into a circular lunar parking orbit. Alternately, the accelerator could launch the container into a long elliptical path needing several days to fall back to the moon, during which time a spacecraft could refuel from the container. 

Clarke points out that launching fuel from the lunar surface to Earth orbit requires only about 20 percent more launch velocity than launching it to lunar orbit, so a spacecraft in Earth orbit could be fueled "more economically from lunar sources than from the planet only a few hundred kilometres below. . .

No spaceship need ever be designed for any mission more difficult than the entry into circular orbit round the Earth, since refueling would be possible both in circum-terrestrial and circum-lunar orbits. . ."

Electromagnetic Launching as a Major Contribution to Space-Flight
By Arthur C. Clarke, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
Vol. 9, No. 6
November 1950
pp. 261-267

September 1951: R.A Smith discusses space rendezvous techniques

The uses of rendezvous techniques in space were discussed in a paper read to the Second International Congress on Astronautics in London, England. 

The problems involved in refueling in space might be simplified considerably if astronauts could maneuver freely, perhaps using a gas-jet pistol and a lifeline. 

The construction of a space station might then be possible. Mechanical linkage of objects in space was described as the most difficult task of all. 

While computing the position of an object in orbit might be comparatively easy, linking up with the object without damage by impact would require human intelligence to anticipate error in the attitude of approach.

R. A. Smith
Establishing Contact Between Orbiting Vehicles
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
, 10 - 1951
 pp. 295-297

1951: Electromagnetic radiation discovered

American physicists Edward Mills Purcell and Harold Ewan discover electromagnetic radiation from interstellar hydrogen at a radio wavelength of 21 cm. Purcell and Felix Bloch independently develop the analytical technique of magnetic resonance spectroscopy for which both receive the 1952 Nobel Prize for physics.


1951: British moon landing?

Renato Vesco, the Italian aeronautical technician ( 1924-1999), claimed modern flying saucers are the Anglo-Canadian development of very advanced German projects. In his third book he pointed out a fascinating but hard-to-believe scenario.

British spaceships had been built after blueprints and technology captured in Germany and flown since 1947. In 1951 they landed on the Moon and in 1954 they reached Mars.

1952: Brits credited with early flying saucers

In 1952, the U.S. probably traded the H-bomb secrets to Great Britain in return for all the saucer technologies and wind tunnel research done in Canada. By 1958 the technology had developed silent, electro-gravitational, Biefeld-Brown type drive.

In the '50s, the news that British boffins were building a saucer set off alarm bells at the CIA. 

Was the United States being left behind by its staunchest allies in the race for a technological edge? 

And if Britain and Canada could build a flying saucer, then surely the Soviet Union wouldn't be far ahead.

Recently released documents from the CIA archive are full of accounts by former German scientists of their desperate work to save the Fatherland with revolutionary circular aircraft supposedly capable of enormous speeds.
But when the CIA set up a study group in 1952 to look into the phenomenon, it discovered something extraordinary far closer to home: In Canada, British engineers were in the process of building a flying saucer of their own.

It was reported that Britain was developing a saucer stealth aircraft as early as the 1950s.


1953: US looks to Woomera

As early as 1953 the United States had her eyes on Woomera. 

American testing would begin there four years later.

1953-1963: Troops exposed to nukes

Between 1952 and 1963, as many as 18,000 Australian and 22,000 British troops were exposed to nuclear contamination during atomic explosions. Many test veterans later died prematurely of multiple cancers.

Seven New Zealand ex-servicemen have launched legal action against the New Zealand government for putting them through dangerous nuclear testing which they said left them with debilitating illnesses.

Sanjida O'Connell and Patrick Barkham in Sydney
Monday April 1, 2002
The Guardian

1954: British Mars landing?

Renato Vesco, the Italian aeronautical technician ( 1924-1999), claimed modern "flying saucers" are the Anglo-Canadian development of very advanced German projects. In his third book he pointed out a fascinating but hard-to-believe scenario.

In 1951 they landed on the Moon and in 1954 they reached Mars.

1954: The Exploration of the Moon - By Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This book is a collaboration between Clarke and artist R. A. Smith. 

Both men were active in the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) beginning in the mid-1930s.

The book is a series of 45 black-and-white plates by Smith with explanatory text by Clarke. 

The lunar plan they depict is an elaboration of a BIS plan developed in the 1930s. 

First, rockets resembling V-2s launch tankers into low-Earth orbit. 

Then the moonship is launched. Astronauts wearing suits resembling those described in 1950 by Ross perform spacewalks to transfer fuel from the tankers to the moonship. 

The moonship then fires its rocket to fly to the moon. Plate 18 depicts the bullet-shaped moonship touching down on Mare Imbrium near Mt. Piton.

Click her for book review and Smith's artwork

1954: Blue Streak Long Range Balistic Missile, and Black Knight Test Rocket projects commenced.

1956-1960: UFO's sighted during  high altitude exercises.

February 13, 1957: First launch of Skylark sounding rocket from Woomera, Australia. 

Rocket still in use today.

1950's-1960's: Project Orion

From the 1950’s-60’s, Project Orion offered to use nuclear bombs for a constructive purpose -- space travel.

About 5 bombs per second are dropped out the back and detonated to propel the craft along. 

A huge shock plate with shock absorbers make up the base of the craft. 

Experiments using conventional explosives were conducted to demonstrate the viability of this scheme. Although this vehicle was conceived to take a crew to Mars, it can also be considered for sending smaller probes to the stars. 

This project ended with the nuclear test ban treaty in the 60’s.

In the late 1970’s the British Interplanetary Society revisited the Orion propulsion concept, but at a more reasonable scale and for in-space use only.


July 1957: Object was spotted during testing of the Redshoes missile. 

Just as a Redshoes missile was elevated and ready to fire, a puzzled shout came from a radar operator in the monitor room, "there's a stationary bogey in the intercept area."

A sharp comment from Major Hotham at range control....."You should have seen it coming. Anybody else see it?"

Other radars confirm the bogie. "It's radar fault. K11 take a look", snaps the major. K11 is the nearest kine-theodolite. The reply is immediate, "we're looking at it, it's a three to four foot diameter disc."

Excitement grew in the control room with expectations rising that the stationary object would soon move, its performance tracked and recorded by the theodolite.

As the object hovered, those in the monitoring room realised that the theodolite's film had only two minutes left.

Then, a scientist monitoring the object through the missile's viewer exclaimed that it was 'going up like a bloody lift.'

The voice of a radar operator then announced that the 'Bogey has disappeared at 100,000 feet.'

One of the scientists estimated that it went fifty thousand feet straight up in five seconds from a standind start.

The next day, as so often happens, officialdom said the tape from the theodolite was blank, it was a radar fault. Those who had observed the object were shattered. Some believed that a cover-up was going on and that what they had seen was possibly something that the Russians had at their disposal.

John Stockley.
Australian Ufologist 
Vol 5 No 4 2001

1957: Black Knight rocket developed

The UK Royal Aircraft Establishment began the development of the Black Knight rocket to study atmosphere reentry of ballistic warheads.

The Black Knight was a long cylinder surmounted by a conical rounded head with 4 ribs equipped of stabilization rockets. It was powered by a Gamma 301 made by Bristol Siddeley; its thrust increased from 74 to 106 kN. Its intitial launch would come the following year.

Jean-Jacques Serra

1957: US begins Woomera tests

The tests were said to be either impossible or impractical to perform elsewhere.

1958: NASA builds Woomera station

In March the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) completed its first space tracking station at Woomera.  

Other stations were also built as the local NASA mission grew to include such space projects as Gemini, Mercury, Mariner and Apollo. NASA's station (1969-1972) served as a vital communications link for Apollo XI as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in July 1969. 

The deep-space instrumentation facility, which provided for the tracking and interpretation of spacecraft in deep space, operated at Island Lagoon near Woomera. 

Its role was also to track satellites in near orbit and to record the telemetered information received from them.

1958: Menzies, Macmillan and the ‘Woomera spy case’

In 1958 a British serviceman, based near the Woomera rocket range, passed secrets to the Soviet Union. 

They concerned the joint Anglo-Australian guided missile project. Recently-released archival files reveal the intense anxiety, bordering on panic, that this security breach provoked in Canberra and London. 

The article places this reaction against the background of a long-term quest by Britain and Australia to convince the United States to restore wartime co-operation in the field of atomic technology and lift its embargo on the transmission of classified information. By unraveling, for the first time, the story of the Woomera spy case, the article illuminates issues of security, defence preparations and Anglo-Australian relations.

Phillip Deery

1958: A spherical object was said to be recovered from the area by a helicopter looking for a missing girl. 

It was taken by an American contingent to Wright Patterson Air Force Base but not after some tests had been performed on it. 

The sphere (2.5 ft wide) was impenetrable by cutters as well as oxy burners and impossible to damage.

It was light, but stronger than anything we have on Earth. The objects discovery was reported in the 'Adelaide Advertiser'.

In a letter published in Timothy Good's Alien Liaison, a man claims to have worked at the Australian rocket range at Woomera and to have begun his time there as a trainee in the field of transistor theory.

The man also claimed to be one of the few men to be cleared to work on missiles under trial there.

In his letter, the witness said that numerous UFO sightings were made at Woomera at the time, but they were seldom reported for fear of persecution.

'While I was at Woomera, the Americans were there in full force for a number of reasons: we wanted them to use the range more, they wanted to sell us the Sidewinder (missile).

While working at Woomera in 1958 or 59 the informant revealed an object was recovered on the range.

It was taken by an American contingent to Wright Patterson Air Force Base but not after some tests had been performed on it. The sphere (2.5 ft wide) was impenetrable by cutters as well as oxy burners and impossible to damage. It was light, but stronger than anything we have on Earth. The objects discovery was reported in the 'Adelaide Advertiser'.

Note: During the 1960's a similar find was made in South Eastern Queensland and reported in Brisbane's 'Courier Mail'.

September 17, 1958: First Black Knight launch

The first Black Knight test rocket was launched from Woomera. 

It broke the world altitude record with 564 km. 

The Black Knight was fired 22 times successfully between 1958 and 1965.

1964: Development begins on space launcher

The development of the space launcher Black Arrow began under direction of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. 

It was 3-stage rocket of only 13 m high weighing 18.1 tons at takeoff time with a LEO payload capacity of nearly 100 kg.

The first stage weighed 14.1 tons and measured 5.9 m high for 2 diameter.

It was equipped with a Gamma-8 motor that featured 8 combustion chambers (gimbaled nozzles). It fired during 125 seconds providing 218 kN thrust and 251 kN in vacuum. 

Second stage was 3.55 m high per 1.37 m diameter and weighed 3.5 tons. Its Gamma-2 motor featuring 2 combustion chambes (gimbaled nozzles) consummed the same propellant and delivered 69 kN thrust during 120 seconds. 

The third stage was under the 1.37 m diameter cap and layered on a spinning table.

It was 1.3 m high, 71 cm diameter and 0.5 t weight. This stage was powered by a Waxwing solid fuel motor providing a mean thrust of 21 kN over 40 seconds.

June 5, 1964: Europe space program kicks off at Woomera

The first stage of Europe's space exploration program was launched with the firing of Britain's 100 ton Blue Streak rocket from Woomera.

The 69 foot high blue streak, designed as the first stage rocket for the European Launcher Development Organisation's satellite project, was fired at 9.14am.

It soared to a height of 100 miles before coming to earth 620 miles north-east of the rocket range.

It was the biggest rocket to be launched outside the Soviet Union and the USA.

Chronicle of the 20th Century

November 25, 1965: Last Black Knight launch takes place at Woomera.

May 24, 1966: First Europa launch

The Europa, with dummy upper stages and satellite was launched to the north.

The flight terminated after 136 seconds.

1969-1978: Nukes tested at Woomera

An April 2002 report revealed that Britain tested nuclear weapons at Woomera between 1969 and 1978.

The Guardian newspaper in London said research to be presented to a British conference showed the penetration aids carrier system was tested there.

Rocket enthusiast John Pitfield said public record office documents showed the system was used to dispense missiles and maneuver a Falstaff rocket, part of Britain's Polaris nuclear missile program. But the paper said no nuclear warheads were launched at Woomera during the tests.

The penetration aids carrier (Pac) system was tested at the Woomera rocket range in 1969, 1975, 1976 and 1978.

Mr Pitfield will tell the British Rocketry Oral History Programme (BROHP) conference in Surrey that public record office documents show that Pac was used to dispense missiles and manoeuvre a Falstaff rocket, part of Britain's now defunct Polaris nuclear missile programme.

With its capacity to launch decoys as well as missiles to form a "threat cloud", Pac was designed to defeat the anti-ballistic missile defence systems developed by the Soviet Union at the time. No nuclear warheads were launched with the testing of the Pac system at Woomera, which was monitored by British scientists in the South Australian desert, 300 miles north of Adelaide.

But the revelation is likely to astonish many anti-nuclear campaigners in Australia, who understood that Britain's testing of nuclear technology in the country had ended in 1963.

Dave Wright, co-organiser of the BROHP conference, said that it was "inconceivable" that senior figures in the Australian government "did not know Falstaff was being tested".

Neither the British nor Australian governments have released details of the testing of more than 4,000 rockets at Woomera, which was established in 1947 and only closed three years ago.

The desert defence base was useful because unlike most sea-based missile testing sites, rockets detonated at Woomera were launched over a vast area of land, enabling scientists to recover and study rocket remains.

James O'Connell, emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University, said: "The British, with their usual passion for secrecy, have been reluctant to reveal documents."

He added: "The Australian government connived with their schemes, but they are more embarrassed now over stories of radiation fallout than they are over the rocketry."

The secret history of Britain's testing of atomic bombs and technology in Australia during the Cold War has been controversial.

Sanjida O'Connell and Patrick Barkham in Sydney
Monday April 1, 2002
The Guardian

Herald Sun, Melbourne
March 2, 2002

December 20, 1971: UFO sighted during Woomera Rocket Test

Just prior to the launch of a Black Arrow rocket (in part of a Defence Science Technology Organisation project) an unidentified "aircraft" was observed by a trained site meteorologist over Woomera's prohibited airspace.  

Another similar sighting shortly after lead to a Department of Supply letter to the Director of Air Force Intelligence.

Dated January 7th, 1972, the letter stated that "the Woomera sighting appeared to be sufficiently authenticated, yet there was no official knowledge of any military or civil aircraft that could have intruded into the Woomera air space. It is therefore now a matter of speculation that some foreign aircraft passed through a Restricted Flying Area without the knowledge of the appropriate authorities and this is cause for concern."

Rather than accept that maybe the "Ruskies" or perhaps something entirely unexplained was the problem, it was more politically expedient for DAFI (Directorate of Air Force Intelligence) to put forward an alternative. They suggested that a more plausible explanation was re-entering space debris, even though it was impossible to confirm that possibility.

Two days after the first of Woomera "intrusions", the South Australian division of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (ANZAAS) organised a one day symposium to consider the UFO problem. The conference was held on 30th 0ctober 1971.

The symposium had about 300 attendees and, because of its prestigious backing, attracted widespread publicity. Dr. Brian Horton's introduction to the ANZAAS symposium pointed out that while the UFO question was on the fringe of our current knowledge and indeed was often ridiculed, it should still be scientifically investigated. He cautioned against forming opinions with incomplete information.

April 21, 2001: New Concorde to be tested at Woomera

The Melbourne Herald Sun carried a story that the new Concorde airliner would be tested at Woomera. 

The new version of the plane would carry 200 passengers at up to 12,000kmh. The airliners which had flown from 1969 were grounded after a July 2000 crash in France in which 109 people were killed.

Woomera could also be used to test a 30m high rocket. Designed by US company Kistler Aerospace, the rocket is designed to be reused up to 30 times. Tests could take place early in 2002.

October 30, 2001: Scramjet tested at Woomera

Woomera rocket range tested a revolutionary jet-engine on October 30, 2001 in an attempt to write itself into aviation history.

If successful it will be the first atmospheric test of a supersonic combustion ramjet, also known as a scramjet.

It is a machine capable of reaching more than eight times faster than sound, or 2.6km a second. The feat which NASA failed to achieve was in June 2001, would compare with breaking the sound barrier in 1947.

It would lead to cheaper satellite launches and faster flights on domestic airlines. For example, a scramjet would cut the journey from Adelaide to London to just two hours.

The Hyshot project is being undertaken by the University of Queensland's hypersonics department. "We are very busy preparing at the moment," chief engineer Dr. Hans Alesi said. "But when we have a spare moment to reflect, there is a real feeling that we are on the verge of history," he said.

The scramjet, dreamed up in the 1950's is a simple machine that burns only oxygen from the air and hydrogen carried on board.

More on the scramjet.

April 14, 2002: Space countdown for Woomera

The world's first fare-paying tourists will ride into space from Woomera next year, if plans by a British rocketry company work out.

British space-tourism entrepreneur, Steven Bennett - founder and chief executive of Starchaser, the private company planning the space rides - says he has two solid-fuel rockets under construction.

Two seats have already been sold for the trip at a total of $A1.3 million. One is left, available for a mere $A670,000 to anyone rich enough, and fit enough, to withstand the G-forces of the launch and landing.

For their money they will get a 23-minute ride into space, four minutes of weightlessness at 100 kilometres above the earth and a "skydiver" ride back to Woomera inside the space module.

"It's not a long time, but you get to see the curvature of the earth, the blackness of space and the things that only a chosen few have so far seen," Mr Bennett said. "This could be the start of regular space-tourism."

Mr Bennett is chasing the $US10 million ($A18.7 million) "X-prize", put up in 1996 by an American philanthropic group for the first privately funded, fare-paying round trip to the edge of space. 

Twenty-one entries have been received from five countries. 

The winner will be the first competitor to carry three or more passengers to an altitude of 100 kilometres, return them safely to earth and repeat the flight in the same rocket within two weeks.

Starchaser has launched nine rockets since starting research in 1993. Most of them have been small, sent to heights ranging from 500 feet to 5400 feet. The earliest trials failed, but recent efforts with unmanned prototypes have been successful, with the rockets safely retrieved by parachute.

The first of Mr Bennett's two rockets for the Woomera flights, called Nova, is 11 metres long and weighs 760 kilograms. It will carry one person 100 kilometres up in a test flight.

The X-prize contender, now under construction, is called Thunderbird. It is 16 metres long, 2.5 metres in diameter and weighs 20,000 kilograms. An egg-shaped module on the nose will carry the passengers.

Mr Bennett said he and a colleague visited the Woomera range last week and had discussions with British Aerospace, the Adelaide-based corporation that operates the facility for the Australian Defence Department.

"Woomera seemed like a good place to go because we wanted to bring our rocket back over land rather than sea," Mr Bennett said. "To win the prize we must re-use the rocket and dunking it into the sea would make that much more difficult.

"Our launches so far have been in Britain but it is too crowded there for a manned flight," he said. "We use steerable parachutes, similar to those used by skydivers, to bring the passenger module back to earth. The rocket section detaches from the passenger module at the top of the flight and comes back on fairly conventional parachutes that are not steered. So we need a lot of clear land. In Britain we would risk dropping it on a built-up area."

Mr Bennett said many people wanted to fly into space and were prepared to pay for the experience.

The rockets use "off-the-shelf" components, Mr Bennett said, but the propulsion system had been developed by Starchaser's engineers. "It's very safe. We pump liquid oxygen through a solid fuel and ignite it to get the rocket effect.

"People say a rocket engine is a barely controlled explosion, but this hybrid technology, half liquid, half solid, is very stable and safe."

Finance for the project has come from a number of sponsors and the $A1.3 million raised from the sale of the two seats.

"The module will carry six people, but we are selling only three on this first trip," said Mr Bennett, who will occupy the other seat along with two other Starchaser executives.

Garry Barker
The Melbourne Age
April 14, 2002