Encyclopedia Astronautica
Stonechat Mk 2


Royal Ordnance solid rocket engine. Out of production. There seem to have been even larger classified versions. Used on Falstaff launch vehicle.

There seem to have been even larger versions. The Project Officer with the UK Joint Service 'Joint Air Transport Establishment' (JATE) at RAF Abingdon in 1974 recalls that they flew a Stonechat rocket from UK to Woomera in October 74.

The Stonechat motor was in a specially built container which completely filled the C-130 freight hold. There was no way of jettisoning the load, and with 9.2 tonnes of solid fuel, we reckoned that if anything went wrong, we would be the first Hercules in space - briefly! Actually the only problem we had was when a spinner on one engine came loose over the Timor Sea, having been incorrectly re-fitted after an engine change in Singapore. This gave us three days off in Darwin while a new spinner was delivered and fitted. Interesting place in those days, and one of the reasons that I am now an Australian.
Extract from his Log Book follows:

  • 18-Sep-74 9:30 VC10 XV 108 Sqn Ldr Brown PAX Brize Norton - RAF Akrotiri (Cyprus) 4:55 Deploying to Singapore, to RV with JATE C130 Task 011/74.
  • 18/19 Sep 74 Not Recorded VC10 XV 108 Sqn Ldr Ganley PAX Akrotiri - Gan 2:00 5:20 As Above.
  • 19-Sep-74 Not Recorded VC10 XV 108 Sqn Ldr Smythe PAX Gan - Tengah 4:10 As Above.
  • 24-Sep-74 11:20 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Rodger Payne JATE Task 011/74 Tengah - RAAF Darwin 7:25 Transporting STONECHAT solid fuel rocket motor (9.2 t NEQ) to Woomera. Spinner on No 2 engine came loose in flight, and detatched on landing.
  • 26-Sep-74 12:20 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Payne JATE Darwin - Woomera 4:45 Delivery of STONECHAT.
  • 27-Sep-74 9:35 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Payne JATE Woomera - Darwin 4:25 RTU ex-STONECHAT delivery task.
  • 28-Sep-74 5:15 Hercules XV 217 Flt Lt Payne JATE Darwin - Tengah 2:30 4:25 RTU ex-STONECHAT delivery task.
  • 1-Oct-74 14:50 VC10 XV 107 Sqn Ldr Hobbs PAX Tengah - Gan 3:55 RTU ex-STONECHAT delivery task.

Thrust (sl): 240.000 kN (53,950 lbf).

Status: Out of production.
Gross mass: 5,090 kg (11,220 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 750 kg (1,650 lb).
Height: 5.30 m (17.30 ft).
Diameter: 0.92 m (3.01 ft).
Thrust: 240.00 kN (53,950 lbf).
Burn time: 37 s.
First Launch: 1969.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Falstaff British sounding rocket. Single stage hypersonic test vehicle using the Stonechat II solid rocket motor. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Associated Propellants
  • Solid Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. Solid propellants have the fuel and oxidiser embedded in a rubbery matrix. They were developed to a high degree of perfection in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's. In Russia, development was slower, due to a lack of technical leadership in the area and rail handling problems. More...

Bibliography
  • Serra, Jean-Jacques, Rockets in Europe, Web Address when accessed: here.

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