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The E.L.D.O. Convention came into force on 29th February, 1964, but since November 1961 an agreed programme of work has been in progress in member countries.
A first attempt to fire the Blue Streak was made on Monday last week but was frustrated by weather. A second attempt on the Thursday had to be postponed because of a minor defect in an electronic component. By the time this was repaired, the weather had again deteriorated. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Do not knock the project.
A third attempt was made yesterday, at which I was present. The count-down went satisfactorily to within three seconds of launch, when a negative signal on the checking-out system brought the firing to a halt. It has now been definitely established that automatic stop action was initiated by check-out equipment when one of the break-up system receivers, which is located on the far side of the rocket from the ground transmitter, ceased to indicate required response to transmissions. As examination has revealed no faults in either ground or rocket equipment, the authorities at Woomera have come to the conclusion that this receiver dropped out owing to fall in signal strength caused by irregular transmission conditions which are known technically as anomalous propagation. There is evidence in support of this view from the behaviour of other equipment. Steps are being taken to ensure that such effects on the receiver in question will not again cause stop. The next firing attempt is planned for Friday, 5th June, that is, Friday this week.
The first firing of the complete rocket is scheduled for the autumn of 1966.