Did you know that one of the most successful small rocket programs in the world is run from right here in Winnipeg? Magellan Aerospace (formerly Bristol Aerospace) builds the Black Brant series of sounding rockets for customers around the world. Payloads launched by Black Brants have been studying the upper atmosphere and near-space environment for over 50 years, and have even been launched from right here in Manitoba (at the Churchill Rocket Range on the northern coast of Manitoba). So it’s no surprise that we’ve always wanted a real rocket for the Science Gallery. Well, now we have one!
Magellan has loaned the Manitoba Museum a real Black Brant 5C rocket, and it was delivered and installed in the Science Gallery on February 4th, 2013. It was a big job getting the rocket into the building, since even disassembled the main motor case wouldn’t fit into the elevator. A team of engineers from Magellan and Museum staff carried it through the parkade and down the stairs to its final resting place. At 9.5-metres (31′) long and nearly 360 kilograms (800 lbs.), this is the single largest artefact in the Science Gallery.
The Black Brant exhibit will officially open this March, with interpretive panels and video footage of the rocket in action. However, you can see the rocket in place now, in the Science Gallery’s space wing next to the Planetarium entrance.