Encyclopedia Astronautica
Black Brant 4B


Canadian sounding rocket.

Failures: 2. First Fail Date: 1974-12-18. Last Fail Date: 1981-12-13.

AKA: Black Brant IVB.
Status: Retired 1981.
Gross mass: 1,400 kg (3,000 lb).
Height: 12.00 m (39.00 ft).
Diameter: 0.44 m (1.44 ft).
Apogee: 950 km (590 mi).
First Launch: 1971.02.05.
Last Launch: 1981.12.13.
Number: 30 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Black Brant The Black Brant originated in a 1957 Canadian government requirement for a sounding rocket to characterize the ionosphere in order to improve military communications. Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, Manitoba was selected to design the rocket, while the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) was responsible for the propellant and filling. The lighter production version of the vehicle was renamed Black Brant. Later versions of Black Brant used a variety of booster and upper stages to supplement the original single-stage vehicle. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Bristol Canadian manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Bristol Aerospace Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • Fort Churchill Fort Churchill is an Arctic site on Hudson Bay with a rail link. It is near the point of maximum auroral activity. This combination of circumstances made it ideal for far-north sounding rocket launches. In 1954, the Canadian Army conducted the first series of rocket firings at Fort Churchill. Following a period of inactivity, construction of more elaborate facilities in support of the International Geophysical Year began in 1956. IGY firings began in July 1957. The range was closed again in December 1958 after the IGY program ended. It was reopened again in August 1959 by the US Army as part of its network of sounding rocket stations. This allowed use of the site by other groups over the years. More...
  • Andoya Andoya Rocket Range (ARR) is the world's northernmost permanent launch facility for sounding rockets and scientific balloons and is responsible for all scientific-related balloon and rocket operations in Norwegian territory. ARR provides complete services for launch, operations, data acquisition, recovery and ground instrumentation support. The range has conducted more than 650 rocket launches and hosted scientists and engineers from more than 70 institutes and universities. More...
  • Barking Sands Military missile test and sounding rocket launch site. In use from 1962 to present. Sandia National Laboratories operates the Kauai Test Facility for the Department of Energy and, through inter-Service Support Agreements provides the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility with rocket launch services for target systems and upper atmosphere measurements. PMRF/KTF is recognized in the INF Treaty as an authorized site from which launches of the STARS missile can be conducted. The site was recently involved in anti-ballistic missile tests. Known to have been used for 2320 launches from 1962 to 2007, reaching up to 1000 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Natal Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 233 launches from 1965 to 2007, reaching up to 1100 kilometers altitude. More...
  • El Arenosillo Spanish sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 335 launches from 1966 to 1994, reaching up to 700 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Cape Parry Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 18 launches from 1969 to 1982, reaching up to 662 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Sonde Stromfjord The Danish Meteorological Institute established this sounding rocket range in 1971. The site was located next to an airport at the end of the fjord and was only occupied during launch campaigns. The location was well-suited for observation of the Arctic aurora and ionosphere. Known to have been used for 31 launches from 1971 to 1987, reaching up to 816 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Chilca Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 34 launches from 1974 to 1983, reaching up to 742 kilometers altitude. More...

Associated Stages
  • 12KS10000 Solid rocket stage. 45.00 kN (10,116 lbf) thrust. Mass 300 kg (661 lb). More...
  • 15KS25000 Solid rocket stage. 111.00 kN (24,954 lbf) thrust. Mass 1,000 kg (2,205 lb). More...

Black Brant 4B Chronology


1971 February 5 - . 22:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AKF-4B-24.
  • Impedance dipole Aurora / ionosphere / meteorology mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 784 km (487 mi).

1972 January 15 - . 06:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-25.
  • Not in FC Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 800 km (490 mi).

1972 May 17 - . 07:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB APF-4B-26.
  • X-ray survey X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 660 km (410 mi).

1973 January 29 - . 05:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-27.
  • Aurora mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 760 km (470 mi).

1973 February 9 - . 02:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-28.
  • Aeronomy / plasma / aurora mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 760 km (470 mi).

1973 June 21 - . 10:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB APF-4B-30.
  • Galactic X-rays X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 686 km (426 mi).

1973 August 9 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB NASA 19.07GT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 250 km (150 mi).

1973 August 9 - . 20:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB CRL A16.000-01.
  • HI Rate Midas Conv test - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 605 km (375 mi).

1973 November 22 - . 21:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Natal. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B.
  • Ionosphere / plasma mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 650 km (400 mi).

1974 February 6 - . 22:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Andoya. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB (ESRO) D-101.
  • DLR A-BB4-63 Auroral mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 548 km (340 mi).

1974 February 13 - . 22:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-31.
  • Aurora / ionosphere / fields mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 638 km (396 mi).

1974 March 29 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Chilca. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B.
  • EQUION Ionosphere / eclipse mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: Aerospace. Apogee: 742 km (461 mi).

1974 December 11 - . 22:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-32.
  • Aurora / ionosphere mission Aurora / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 600 km (370 mi).

1974 December 17 - . 10:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Sonde Stromfjord. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB (ESRO) D-102A?.
  • DLR G-BB4-64 PolCusp Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1974 December 18 - . 11:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Sonde Stromfjord. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. FAILURE: Failure.
  • DLR G-BB4-65 PolCusp Ionosphere mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1975 January 6 - . 23:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB Tordo I.
  • Periquito Plasma / barium release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 540 km (330 mi).

1975 January 11 - . 00:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB Tordo II.
  • Periquito Plasma / barium release mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 540 km (330 mi).

1975 January 11 - . 10:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Sonde Stromfjord. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B.
  • DLR G-BB4-66 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: DFVLR. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1975 November 25 - . 23:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AEC-IVA-03.
  • Periquito Plasma / barium release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRCC; Sandia. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1975 November 28 - . 23:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AEC-IVA-04.
  • Periquito Plasma / barium release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRCC; Sandia. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1976 January 20 - . 01:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB GL A16.501-01.
  • VLF Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF GL. Apogee: 632 km (392 mi).

1976 February 5 - . 05:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-33.
  • Test / aurora / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 730 km (450 mi).

1976 June 27 - . 08:58 GMT - . Launch Site: El Arenosillo. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB Astro 6-2.
  • DLR H-BB4B-76 Extreme ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: Germany. Agency: DLR. Apogee: 700 km (430 mi).

1977 March 8 - . 04:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-34.
  • Pitch angles Test / aurora / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 700 km (430 mi).

1977 August 23 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein RN. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB Equatorial Wideband.
  • - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 160 km (90 mi).

1978 February 27 - . 05:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-35.
  • Aurora / ionosphere mission Aurora / ionosphere mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 785 km (487 mi).

1981 January 26 - . 07:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-36.
  • Substorm Auroral mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 584 km (362 mi).

1981 March 28 - . 01:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-37.
  • FALCONS Ionosphere / plasma / fields mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 675 km (419 mi).

1981 December 6 - . 23:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-38.
  • CENTAUR Auroral mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 615 km (382 mi).

1981 December 13 - . 21:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Parry. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 4B. LV Configuration: Black Brant IVB AAF-4B-39. FAILURE: Failure.
  • CENTAUR Auroral mission - . Nation: Canada. Agency: NRCC. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

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