Rocket Launch Facilities at or near Woomera: A Summary

WOOMERA LAUNCH AREAS The Woomera rocket range consisted of numerous facilities for weapons testing, the launch of high-altitude sounding rockets, and eventually the launch of satellites. The height of activity was between 1948 and the mid-1970s. Several ranges A to G were developed over the years with nine launch areas (LA 1 to 9). Five of the launch areas were located at Range E. There are still facilities in use on the range and it has some potential for future activities. But the massively equipped Launch Area LA 6, used for the launching of Blue Streak missile, and set-up to easily cope with multistage rockets for launching satellites and space exploration was not just "decommissioned": It was sold to a building demolisher and totally destroyed.
Launch Areas LA 1-9
  • LA 1 At Range E - used for early surface to air point defence missile tests. Decommissioned in the late 1960s.
  • LA 2 At Range E - it is fully functional with various rail launchers.
  • LA 3 & 4 At Range E - last used for the Bloodhound and Thunderbird surface to air defence systems trails. Decommissioned in the mid-1970s.
  • LA 5 At Range E - used throughout the 1960s and '70s for testing the Black Knight and Black Arrow rockets. It was the site for the Prospero satellite launch in 1971. Decommissioned in the late 1970s.
  • LA 6 Located on the edge of the usually dry Lake Hart. Originally built for testing the British Blue Streak ICBM, but after that program's cancellation it was converted for the use of the ELDO program. Only one of the launch facilities, LA6A was completed. Ten launches took place from 1964, but no satellite was orbited. Last used on June 12, 1970, and complex later dismantled.
  • LA 7 Not far from Lake Hart, this complex was used in the 1960s for launching U.S. Redstone rockets as part of the Sparta program to test nose cone materials during re-entry. A spare Redstone was made available to Australia to launch its first satellite, WRESAT-1 in 1967.
  • LA 8 Area near Lake Hart once used to test some scientific rockets.
  • LA 9 Area near Range E used to test ship-launched, anti-aircraft Sea Dart and Sea Wolf missiles for Britain's Royal Navy. Now used by the Australian Space Research Institute (ASRI) for Zuni rockets launched by volunteers.

Launch Area LA-6 in the sixties

At Launch Area LA 7 before and after the launch of WRESAT in 1967