First, let me say "thank you" to the thousands of people who have read this blog, and to those who have commented, whether you agreed with me or not. This post is a continuation of the Solway Firth Spaceman controversy, as many have attempted to tie this photo, taken a few days after the Solway Firth photo, to the Solway Firth Spaceman incident. I was going to ignore this aspect of the controversy, unless someone brought it up in comments, so here we go.
What: A photograph showing two figures on the pad of the Woomera Launch Facility, next to a British Blue Streak Missile.
Basics: When the photo was taken is in question, but it is clearly the Blue Streak Missile, and has been confirmed as the Woomera Facility.
Myth: The two figures in the photograph are more of the same aliens that showed up in the Solway Firth photograph. It is held that these aliens on the launch pad caused the missile test to be aborted. Some also believe that parts of one of the Blue Streak Missiles ended up in the Solway Aviation Museum due to the connection to the Solway Firth Spaceman. There were also some supposed reports of "bright lights" in the sky before the launch, compounded with a lot of "UFO sightings" around Woomera during the time these missile tests were taking place.
Investigation: First, let us look at the photo of the missile, that purportedly shows the "spacemen".
At first glance this just looks like two workmen. While the person on the right is harder to distinguish, the one on the left appears to be a person walking towards the left of the photo. Granted, this is not conclusive proof of this being humans, so let us continue by looking at the design of the rocket, and this particular launch.
The myth states that the launch was aborted due to these two men being on the pad. It must be noted, however, that the rocket engine in the Blue Streak was the Rolls Royce RZ2 engine, which was an improvement on the Rocketdyne S3D engine. The RZ2 was a kerosene/liquid oxygen turbo driven engine. Due to icing problems the extremely cold liquid oxygen could not be loaded ahead of time. While a system to maintain the full tanks for about ten hours was developed, this was the first test of the system. This is important because there is no venting from the fuel system or tanks showing in this photo. Liquid oxygen, upon transfer, always creates vapor that must be vented, during the fueling and as the oxygen warms in the tank. Typically the oxygen was loaded just a few minutes before takeoff, meaning that this could be two workmen preparing to start the oxygen transfer, and they are wearing protective clothing.
While this is a possibility, it appears to me, as best the pixels will allow, that the man on the left is wearing a cap, not a face shield or hood. So what else could be going on here?
In research there is one witness, named Jim (I cannot find the original reference, only "Jim" being referenced on pages naming him), who has stated that this photo was taken several days before the failed June 5, 1964 launch. According to historical evidence that was eventually released by Great Britain, the first Blue Streak test was scheduled for June 2, 1964 but was aborted by the on-board systems due to a part failure, causing a safety issue. The missile was launched on June 5, only to fail due to "uncontrollable oscillations during final phase of burn due to fuel sloshing in tanks". This is a quite reasonable explanation given that these were some of the first ICBM experiments, and this was the first test of the Blue Streak.
We should also note that this was an auspicious occasion, even though much of the program was classified. I do not doubt that some photos were taken of various things happening in this event.
Conclusion: This photo was taken either early on June 2, as workers prepared to load the oxygen, after the automatic abort as workers attempted to find the problem, or early on June 5 as the missile was prepared for launch. There is nothing in this photo to indicate anything other than workers on the pad. Even the being on the left appears to be human in his shape and gait, while the one of the right is standing and looking.
As to the "corroborating evidence" of the bright lights and UFO activity, doesn't that sound like what would be seen around a missile test sight, back before missiles and high speed aircraft were normal? Remember, we are talking 1964, worry about the Russians having space and air superiority, missiles and rockets being new to the public, and mostly empty skies.
I seriously doubt that this photo would ever have become a "spaceman" photo, if it had not been associated with the Solway Firth photo.