The Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough

The RAE at Farnborough, Hampshire, provided the guiding hand behind most of these projects. Together with the Rocket Propulsion Department (RPD), later the Rocket Propulsion Establishment (RPE), based at Westcott, Buckinghamshire, RAE carried out all the preliminary research for the ballistic missile, and also initiated and oversaw the Black Knight programme. It was also responsible for all the further studies that culminated in Black Arrow.

RAE was a large and wide spread organisation in the 1950s and 1960s; the Guided Weapons (GW) Department was responsible for all the early work on Blue Streak and Black Knight. In January 1962 Space Department was created, taking over much of the work of the GW Department. Space Department was responsible for a good deal of the UK’s work with ELDO, for the later re-entry experiments, Skylark, Black Arrow, and the technology satellites Prospero and Miranda.

In 1988 the RAE was renamed the Royal Aerospace Establishment, and in 1991 the RAE was merged into the Defence Research Agency (DRA). In 1995 the DRA and other Ministry of Defence organisations were merged to form the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). In 2001 DERA was part – privatised, resulting in two separate organisations, the state-owned Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), and the privatised company QinetiQ.