Sparta (rocket)

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Drawing of Sparta rocket.svg
Function Sounding rocket
Launch system
Manufacturer ABMA/Chrysler
Country of origin United States
Height 21.8 metres (72 ft)
Diameter 1.78 metres (5 ft 10 in)
Mass 30,000 kilograms (66,000 lb)
Stages 3
Payload to LEO 45 kilograms (99 lb)
Associated rockets
Family Redstone
Comparable Jupiter-C
Juno I
Launch history
Status Retired
Launch sites Woomera Test Range LA-8
Total launches 10
Successes 9
Failures 1
First flight 28 November 1966
Last flight 29 November 1967
Notable payloads WRESAT
First stage – Redstone
Engines 1 A-7
Thrust 416 kilonewtons (94,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 265 sec
Burn time 155 seconds
Fuel LOX/Hydyne
Second stage – Antares-2
Engines 1 X-259
Thrust 93 kilonewtons (21,000 lbf)
Specific impulse 293 sec
Burn time 36 seconds
Fuel Solid
Third stage – BE-3
Engines 1 solid
Thrust 34
Burn time 9 seconds
Fuel Solid

The Sparta was a three-stage rocket that launched Australia's first Earth satellite, WRESAT, on 29 November 1967.

Sparta used a surplus American Redstone as its first stage, an Antares-2 as a second stage, and a BE-3 as a third stage. Several Spartas were launched from 1966–67 from Woomera Test Range in Woomera, South Australia as part of a joint United States–United Kingdom–Australian research program aimed at understanding re-entry phenomena, and the U.S. donated a spare for the scientific satellite launch into polar orbit.

The first stage was recovered from the Simpson Desert in 1990 after being found in searches by explorer Dick Smith the previous year.[1]:76–80

Sparta on the pad at Woomera


  1. ^ Douherty, Kevin. "Retrieving Woomera's Heritage" (PDF). Retrieved 3 August 2016.

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