Place Comment: Historic rocket tracking emplacement

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 03, 2018 at 10:22
ThreadID: 136930 Views:750 Replies:1 FollowUps:8
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I'm not sure who added this place to EO, but they were interested to see pics if anyone visited. Well, I visited on 18 June, and I've uploaded pics!
I did not bother to grab coordinates as the site is very easy to find. It is directly across the Oodnadatta Track from Beresford Siding. From the OT, you can see the cement foundations on the hill, and there is a dirt track leading to the site.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 13:48

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 13:48
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Hi Candace, thanks for the heads-up on that.
I was not aware of those relics. There certainly was no radar installation there during my time at Woomera but maybe it came later than 1960 during the Blue Streak days.

I will check it out next time up the Oodna Track.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 16:05

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 16:05
Built 1967 apparently for the Black Aarrow.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 16:11

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 16:11
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That would be Black Knight Leigh.
The predecessot to Blue Streak.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 16:26

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 16:26
I'm just going by what is in the SA governments heritage survey, and this would seem to be confirmed by Wikipedia info.

"The Beresford Wiggle
Another legacy of the Second World War was a new generation of weapons: nuc.lear bombs and long-range missiles which could deliver a warhead over thousands of rrnles. The South Australian outback - flat and mostly uninhabited - was chosen as a suitable place to test these devices, and the town of Woomera was established north-west of Port Augusta in 1946 as the base for a joint British-Australian military and scienti.fic complex. The Woomera Prohibited Area extended right to the Central Australian Railway near William Creek, but most of the space activity in the ensuing twenty years took place well to the south and west of the Oodnadatta Track.
The rocket scientists arrived in the Oodnadatta Track region in 1967. Since 1963, Britain had been developing a new missile designed as a satellite launcher, the Black Arrow. After several years of design problems and political delays because of the cost of the program, three missiles were eventually built for testing. Unlike most of the military missiles which were test-fired toward the north-west of Australia, Black Arrow was designed to launch satellites into polar orbit, so had to be fired northward, across the Gulf of Carpentaria and New Guinea. This called for a new set of tracking instruments to be built along the new flight line. One of the sites chosen was Beresford on the Central Australian Railway, close to the northerly flight path, where a radar station was built on a rise a few kilometres from the railway station.
Black Arrow was to have a short and troubled career, but three tests were launched between 1969 and 1971, the third launching Britain's first satellite, Prospero, which is still in orbit. Beresford briefly became famous for an inexplicable S~bend which appeared on the plotted track of each test as the missile passed by - the 'Beresford wiggle' • presumably caused by some interference effect in close proximity to the radar station. After the third launch, Britain withdrew from satellite development altogether, and the Black Arrow program was wound up. Other testing continued at Woomera, but the Beresford tracking station was dismantled. (Morton 1989, pp. 499-525) "
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 18:02

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 18:02
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Black Arrow was not used as a launch vehicle until 1969. Black knight first launched in 1958, just before I left Woomera . As said, it was a test vehicle to prepare for Blue Streak and a number were launched. I believe that the subject radar site would have been established well before the first launch using Black Arrow.

There is much mis-information on the web about Woomera events and Wikipedia is not always correct. However, I appreciate that you posted in good faith.

When I get home next week I will consult my more reliable documents about this.

I have just noticed that the Wikipedia quote was ascribed to Peter Norton (Fire Across the Desert) which is pretty reliable, so maybe I have got my " Black's" mixed up. It comes with age. lol
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 18:40

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 18:40
Is interesting reading, heading up there shortly and will check the site out now I know its there.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Thursday, Jul 05, 2018 at 06:15

Thursday, Jul 05, 2018 at 06:15
Interesting about the "wiggle" that showed up on the radar tracks. I wonder if the structures over at Beresford siding caused that? Namely, the big water softener and tank. Both contain quite a bit of ferrous metal. For that matter, maybe the tracks themselves were also a factor.
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Follow Up By: HKB Electronics - Thursday, Jul 05, 2018 at 10:30

Thursday, Jul 05, 2018 at 10:30
More likely interference caused by the radar to the rockets guidance system
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Tuesday, Jul 10, 2018 at 18:16

Tuesday, Jul 10, 2018 at 18:16
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The "wiggle" was in the radar "walking track" but the missile itself did not "wiggle".
The problem was exhaustively investigated but not resolved. In the end a change of radar antenna was adopted.

I have searched my documents relating to the "Beresford radar installation" and find reference to telemetry and WREBUS radar (range safety) being located at "Beresford Hill" which is close to the Beresford railway siding so I presume this is the one and same place. This installation was in reference to Black Knight trials. So it would seem that it preceded the Black Arrow launches.
Someone contributing to Wikipedia was possibly more fascinated by Peter Morton's description of the "wiggle" in Fire Across the Desert.
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