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Thread: Rocket Testing Site @ The Needles - Isle of Wight - PIC HEAVY

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    Default Rocket Testing Site @ The Needles - Isle of Wight - PIC HEAVY


    Well her we go.
    As most of you are aware, the Island hold a hell of alot of history, as you can see from my explores, but this probably holds the most in terms of achievement and credit to the UK & the Island.
    During the cold war, the race to be in space was running, mostly between Russia and the USA, but there was the UK too, and alot of it was being developed here on the little old Isle of Wight.
    The High Down Test Site is a rare example of a 1950s British rocket test facility, built at a time when the country was amongst a handful of nations at the forefront of rocket and missile technology. Internationally, large rocket testing facilities of this date are uncommon, and were restricted to the two Superpowers - the United States and the Soviet Union. It is also a visible reminder of the Isle of Wight’s aviation heritage, in such specialized fields as flying boats, rocket powered interceptor fighter and hovercraft, and in particular its contribution to space technology.
    Most of the site’s ancillary buildings have been demolished and the metal work of the test stands removed, nevertheless, its plan form and remaining features may be used to understand the operation of a post-war rocket test facility. The site and surrounding down land is owned by the National Trust and is publicly accessible.
    Unfortunately like most stuff over here, it was demolished shortly after decommissioning :(

    If you want a breakdown with explanations for most of the stuff thats still there, then I recommend this survey, done by English Heritage, its a PDF file, and very informative, covering the batteries & rocket site;
    http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/u...rt_90-2007.pdf

    More info here ---> http://www.theneedlesbattery.org.uk/rocket.shtml
    And here ---> http://www.spaceuk.org/bk/bk.htm
    Again ---> http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/a...ht)/article.do

    Anyway on with the pics;


    Heres an Ariel view of the site.


    And another from when it was in use.


    And heres a plan of the site, when in use.


    Heres a magazine article about it.


    And another.



    And an article from the Mail.


    Here is another plan, this was the final drawing of it before the building work started.


    And again.


    More.


    Some 'not so' classified documents.


    Work starting on the complex in the 50s (library picture).


    This is the view of Gantry #2 through the viewing windows in the control room.
    This would normally be 4" (2x 2") thick glass, but its been destroyed over the years of dereliction.


    This is the view of Gantry #1 through the viewing windows in the control room.
    Again this would normally be 4" (2x 2") thick glass, but its been destroyed over the years of dereliction.


    Inside the control room, looking at the entrance & blast door.


    The blast door, separating the control room and pump room.


    Inside the pump room.


    Looking into the base of gantry #2 showing the fixings and exhaust chute.


    And again.




    Same again, but gantry #1.


    Zoomed in.


    A truck arriving with a rocket to be tested (library picture).


    My attempted replica picture.


    Looking towards gantry #2 (library picture).


    And my attempt again.


    Drawn picture of above 2 pictures (library picture).


    Looking towards gantry #1 (library picture).


    Nearly the same.


    Looking at the control room and gantry #1 (library picture).


    And my attempt again.


    Looking at the whole site (library picture).


    Not a bad attempt.


    Rocket being loaded into gantry #2 (library picture).


    And my final attempt at replicating the old pics.


    This is inside the museum, its the rocket that carried Prospero into space.


    And here is the satellite Prospero, thats still orbiting the earth, 30yrs on.


    And the details about it.


    And to finish, a nice shot of the needles.

    Thanks for viewing.
    Comment and suggestions welcome :)
    Last edited by Urban Mole; 17th Aug 08 at 23:33.
    >>> Moles Wight Exploration <<<
    <<< RIP THE PADDLE STEAMER RYDE >>>
    ##I can be contacted via the email on my profile page##

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  3. #2
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    wow, fantastic report, great pics, very interesting. Thanks. (heh that sounded like some ebay feedback)

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  4. #3
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    Great work on the before and after shots.

    any righter, and they'd be wrong

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    I love that report, well done for all the hard work you put into it :)

    Great stuff.

    KE

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    Excellent report mate. Thanks.

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    Thats a brilliant report mate ....I really love "then and now" stuff........thanks for that!:)

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  8. #7
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    Fantastic report & history! Specially like the then & now shots-that must of taken some research & setting up! Great pics too! Thanks for posting them.
    Mr freebird
    My Flickr
    & feel free to add stuff to this..... ;)
    Flickr Urbex UK

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  9. #8
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    Excellent stuff, thank you.
    ...Hear me now from the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet...

    Neolithicsea.co.uk

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  10. #9
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    Cheers guys, it took some doing, trying to get the same pics, especially when it was blowing a hooley down there, and trying to keep the camera straight, as I didnt take a tripod

    It really is a shame alot of it has gone now, and there isnt much in the museum either, although I do have pics of all the info signs inside, you can see them in the pic of the rocket on display.

    Sometimes the 'Rocket Men' are there for people to chat to, but not always, and wernt there when I went :(
    >>> Moles Wight Exploration <<<
    <<< RIP THE PADDLE STEAMER RYDE >>>
    ##I can be contacted via the email on my profile page##

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  11. #10
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    Cool report..
    I`m in isle of white on Friday and Saturday i might just take a look.
    someones flickr sets..

    "Bad spellers of the world untie !!"

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