By the time the last Skylark rocket was launched in 2005, nearly 450 launches had been carried out in the nearly 50 year lifetime of the programme. The Skylark is a largely unsung hero of the UK space programme - in fact its use went far beyond the UK as it was used also by NASA, ESRO and German and Swedish space organisations. It was launched from sites in Europe, Australia and South America. It was used for research, amongst others, in fields such as atmospheric studies, astronomy and microgravity, as well as for technology proving. Furthermore, it contributed to the training
of a whole generation of space scientists and engineers. Matthew Godwin has skilfully and authoritatively charted the first 15 years of the development of the Skylark programme from its genesis deep in the Cold War era, through the machinations of Government and the Civil Service through to its extensive use by the European Space Research Organisation. He has done a great service not only to the specialists whose careers have been involved with the Skylark programme but anyone with a professional or even just passing interest in space research, science and politics.