Ref NoD5290
TitleRolls-Royce, Derby: Rocket Department records
Extent6 boxes
Administrative HistoryThe Rocket Department at Rolls-Royce, Derby, headed by Dr A V Cleaver, was involved in the Air Ministry's Blue Streak missile project, part of Britain's proposed independent nuclear deterrent strategy from the mid 1950s. The RZ.1 engine for the Blue Streak missile was built by Rolls-Royce under licence from the Rocketdyne division of the North American Aviation Company. The technology was developed in Rolls-Royce's own RZ.2 engine, references to which form the core of this collection. The Blue Streak missile project was cancelled by the British government in April 1960, but the RZ.2 lived on as the rocket engine for a European satellite launching vehicle under the European Space Vehicle Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO). An RZ.3 booster rocket engine, for a multi-stage satellite launching vehicle, was in development when the British government pulled out of ELDO in 1968 and the British space programme ceased to exist. This, and other changes, led to the disbandment of the Rolls-Royce Rocket Department in the later 1960s. It appears that at this time most of the departmental records were destroyed by the company.
Custodial HistoryThe papers were donated to the Record Office by a private individual in August 2000.
CreatorRolls-Royce Ltd, Rolls-Royce Rocket Department, Derby
DescriptionThis collection contains photographs of every part of the RZ.2 rocket, mostly taken at the Spadeadam testing centre in Cumbria. It also includes photographs of the launch of the European rocket at the Woomera base in Australia. The RZ.12 and RZ.14 engines which are mentioned are the boosters for the second and top stages of the multi-stage launcher whose present descendent is the Ariane rocket. The collection also contains some plans and photographs of the Olympus RP.128 engine, an early stage of the Concorde aircraft project.
ArrangementD5290/1-3 Rocket Department working papers D5290/4 Rocket Department administrative papers D5290/5 Published reports, article and lectures on rocketry D5290/6 Other Rolls-Royce material D5290/7 Miscellaneous
Related MaterialTo see a full list for this collection, click the link below
For complementary series of other files, reports and photographs from the Rolls-Royce Rocket Department see D4907, D5496 and D5525.
Organisation TypeBusinesses
GroupVehicle manufacturers and products
Sub-GroupCommerce and Manufacturing
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