Encyclopedia Astronautica
Iris



iris.jpg
Iris
Sounding rocket developed by the US Navy, then handed over to NASA. Flown only four times, but then used in unique Hydra-Iris test series.

The Iris sounding rocket was originally designed by the Naval Research Laboratory to take 45 kg payloads to altitudes of 320 km. It was transferred to NASA with other NRL sounding rockets and flown only four times. It required launch from an Aerobee-like tower, with the seven clustered booster motors burning out and seperating before the upper stage left the tower.

From NASA SOUNDING ROCKETS, 1958-1968 - A Historical Summary, NASA SP-4401, 1971, by William R. Corliss

The development of the Iris sounding rocket had begun at NRL prior to the transfer of its Rocket-Sonde group to NASA. Iris was built by the Atlantic Research Corp. for the Naval Bureau of Ordnance, with NRL monitoring the design, the production, and the payload. The development of the rocket was completed by NASA, with the first NASA firing taking place at Wallops Island on July 22, 1960. In contrast to the monsters in the Argo series, Iris is a small, two-stage, solid-propellant rocket capable of lifting 45 kg (100 lb) to about 320 km (200 mi). NASA has not used the Iris rocket since 1962.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Iris American sounding rocket. Sounding rocket developed by Navy, then handed over to NASA. Flown only four times, but then used in unique Hydra-Iris test series. More...
  • Hydra-Iris American sounding rocket. Two stage underwater-launched vehicle consisting of 3 x Sparrow motors in the booster stage and an Iris upper stage. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • Atlantic Ocean Sounding rocket launches made from naval vessels in the Atlantic accounted for 521 launches from 1947 to 1995, reaching up to 750 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Pacific Ocean Sounding rocket launches made from naval vessels in the Pacific accounted for 280 launches from 1949 to 2006, reaching up to 1000 kilometers altitude. More...

Iris Chronology


1960 July 22 - . 12:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Iris. LV Configuration: Iris NASA 5.01GT.
  • Aeronomy / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 224 km (139 mi). Summary: First flight of NASA's Iris sounding rocket successful..

1960 October 18 - . 14:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Iris. LV Configuration: Iris NASA 5.02GT.
  • Aeronomy / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 225 km (139 mi). Summary: Second Iris rocket rose to 225 km with a payload of 56 kg from Wallops Station..

1961 January 19 - . 12:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Iris. LV Configuration: Iris NASA 5.03GT. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Aeronomy / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 138 km (85 mi).

1962 May 3 - . 18:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA1. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Iris. LV Configuration: Iris NASA 5.04GA.
  • Structure Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 113 km (70 mi).

1964 August 10 - . Launch Site: Pacific Ocean. Launch Pad: 34.0 N x 123.0 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris GSP-1.
  • LRL GSP-1 Magnetospheric mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1965 January 7 - . Launch Site: Atlantic Ocean. Launch Pad: 56.5 S x 27.4 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris SAP-1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • LRL SAP-1 Ionosphere/Magnesium release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi).

1965 January 26 - . 09:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Atlantic Ocean. Launch Pad: 35.1 S x 35.5 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris SAP-2.
  • LRL SAP-2 (SAA) Ionosphere / magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 289 km (179 mi).

1965 October 28 - . 18:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Pacific Ocean. Launch Pad: 30.0 N x 120.0 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris BOX-2.
  • LRL BOX-2 X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 194 km (120 mi).

1966 May 31 - . 17:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Pacific Ocean. Launch Pad: 10.0 N x 115.9 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris BOX-4.
  • LRL BOX-4 X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 188 km (116 mi).

1966 October 30 - . 17:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Pacific Ocean. Launch Pad: 31.0 N x 133.0 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris BOX-5. FAILURE: Failure.
  • LRL BOX-5 X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 12 km (7 mi).

1968 March 20 - . 19:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Pacific Ocean. Launch Pad: 32.3 N x 128.0 W. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris BAR-1.
  • LRL BAR-1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 195 km (121 mi).

1968 November 3 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Pacific Ocean. Launch Pad: 27.5 N x 125.0 W. Launch Platform: T-AGM-8. LV Family: Iris. Launch Vehicle: Hydra-Iris. LV Configuration: Hydra-Iris BOX-15.
  • LRL BOX-15 X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NMC. Apogee: 227 km (141 mi).

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