Encyclopedia Astronautica
Super Chief


Series of large sounding rockets developed by Aerojet Space Data using the Talos booster, various upper stages, and Astrobee electronics.

From Aerojet - The Creative Company, 1995:

The Super Chief I used the Talos booster as the first stage and the Sergeant rocket as the second stage. Super Chief II also uses a Talos booster as first stage but uses Castor I as second stage. The Super Chief III variation used the larger Castor II as second stage. Super Chief could put 1500 pounds to an altitude of 120 miles. The booster had an imposing 115,930 lbf average thrust. The 31-inch body diameter and nearly 50 ft. length made the Super Chief a very imposing sounding rocket and one of the largest of the non-V2 sounding rockets.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Super Chief American sounding rocket. Series of large sounding rockets developed by Aerojet Space Data using the Talos booster, various upper stages, and Astrobee electronics. More...
  • Talos Sergeant Hydac American sounding rocket. Three stage sounding rocket consisting of 1 x Talos booster + 1 x Sergeant + 1 x Hydac More...
  • Talos Castor American sounding rocket. Two stage sounding rocket consisting of 1 x Talos booster + 1 x Castor More...
  • Space Data LCLV American sounding rocket. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Talos + 1 x Sergeant + 1 x M57A1 More...
  • HPB American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Talos + 1 x M56A1 More...
  • Starbird American test vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Talos + 1 x Sergeant + 1 x Orbus 1 + 1 x Orbus 1 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...
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Poker Flat Sounding rocket launch site. In use from 1969 to present. Poker Flat Rocket Range (PFRR) contains five major launch pads. Pads 1 and 2 each have a 7.5K launcher, pads 3 and 4 each contain 20K MRL launchers, and pad 5 contains a 4K twin boom launcher. Pad 3 is equipped with a moveable launcher enclosure which can be used to protect a rocket on pad 3 and workers from the severe winter weather. More...
  • Woomera After World War II British government recognized the need for a large range to test the incredible array of long-range missile systems then planned. After considering sites in Canada, it was decided that Australia would best meet the projected needs. The Long Range Weapons Establishment was created on 1 April 1947 as a joint British/Australian enterprise. 23 days later the name Woomera (an aboriginal word of axtlaxtl, or spear thrower) was selected for the new town to be built as its administrative center. Woomera town peaked at a population of 6,000 in the 1960's. Thereafter the progressive cancellation of British missile and space projects put Woomera went into sustained decline. However it played a key role in the history of rocketry, including orbital launches or launch attempts by Black Arrow, Sparta, and Europa boosters. More...
  • Kwajalein The US military base located on this Pacific island group has major tracking facilities and is near the impact area for dummy warheads fired by ICBM's from Vandenberg AFB. It is a key test location for anti-ballistic missile systems. More...
  • Barking Sands Military missile test and sounding rocket launch site. In use from 1962 to present. Sandia National Laboratories operates the Kauai Test Facility for the Department of Energy and, through inter-Service Support Agreements provides the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility with rocket launch services for target systems and upper atmosphere measurements. PMRF/KTF is recognized in the INF Treaty as an authorized site from which launches of the STARS missile can be conducted. The site was recently involved in anti-ballistic missile tests. Known to have been used for 2320 launches from 1962 to 2007, reaching up to 1000 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Wake Island US Pacific test vehicle launch site. In use from 1974 for launches of re-entry test vehicles and anti-ballistic missile targets. Known to have been used for 18 launches from 1974 to 2004, reaching up to 500 kilometers altitude. More...

Super Chief Chronology


1974 March 17 - . 19:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Super Chief II.
  • Extreme ultraviolet Airglow Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1976 November 15 - . 03:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac. LV Configuration: Talos Sergeant Hydac DNA TE634.52-1.
  • Ballistics test - . Nation: USA. Agency: DNA. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1976 November 19 - . 04:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor DNA EX651.92-1.
  • EXCEDE Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: DNA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1977 September 28 - . 15:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor DNA IC733.03-1.
  • SPIRE I Infrared background mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: DNA. Apogee: 275 km (170 mi).

1978 February 28 - . 11:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac. LV Configuration: Talos Sergeant Hydac DNA WS834.55-1.
  • Ballistics test - . Nation: USA. Agency: DNA. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1978 October 29 - . 05:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor DNA EX851.44-1.
  • EXCEDE 1 Active plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF GL. Apogee: 137 km (85 mi).

1979 October 19 - . 05:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor GL A51.970.
  • EXCEDE 2 (SPECTRAL) Active plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF GL. Apogee: 128 km (79 mi).

1983 March 19 - . 06:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor GL A51.971.
  • ELIAS Aeronomy / aurora mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF GL. Apogee: 305 km (189 mi).

1983 December 16 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac.
  • HAVE SLED II Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF BMO. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1984 January 26 - . 15:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac.
  • HAVE SLED II Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF BMO. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1984 February 2 - . 15:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac.
  • HAVE SLED II Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF BMO. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1986 April 8 - . 09:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor GL A51.378.
  • SPIRIT I Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF GL. Apogee: 241 km (149 mi).

1987? - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein RN. Launch Pad: RN?. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac.
  • HAVE JEEP VII-A Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF BMD. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1988? - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein RN. Launch Pad: RN?. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac.
  • HAVE JEEP VII-C Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF BMD. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1988 March 7 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein RN. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Sergeant Hydac. FAILURE: Failure.
  • HAVE JEEP VII-B Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF BMD. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1990 January 30 - . 21:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: HPB. LV Configuration: HPB GL A26.804.
  • TM2-1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 422 km (262 mi).

1990 December 18 - . 03:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Starbird.
  • LACE UVPI Target Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1991 February 6 - . 07:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: LCLV.
  • Target / active plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 510 km (310 mi).

1991 April 12 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: HPB. LV Configuration: HPB Firebird 1.
  • Target / decoys mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1991 September 4 - . 05:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor ZEST-1.
  • Tungsten dust cloud Target/Release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 330 km (200 mi). Summary: Tungsten dust release for SDIO..

1991 September 12 - . 05:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor. LV Configuration: Talos Castor ZEST-2.
  • Target / release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Sandia. Apogee: 330 km (200 mi). Summary: Tungsten dust release for SDIO..

1992 March 29 - . 08:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Poker Flat. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: HPB. LV Configuration: HPB SPIRIT-2.
  • Infrared background mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1992 April 15 - . 09:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: HPB. LV Configuration: HPB Firebird 1B.
  • Target / decoys mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 450 km (270 mi).

1993 January 28 - . Launch Site: Wake Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: HPB. LV Configuration: HPB TCMP 1B.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1993 February 11 - . Launch Site: Wake Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: HPB. LV Configuration: HPB TCMP 1C?. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi).

1993 May 23 - . 09:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: LCLV. LV Configuration: LCLV Red Tigress 2A.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: SDIO. Apogee: 378 km (234 mi).

1993 May 28 - . 08:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: LCLV. LV Configuration: LCLV Red Tigress 2B.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: SDIO. Apogee: 390 km (240 mi).

1996 October 16 - . 10:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: LCLV. LV Configuration: LCLV Red Tigress 3.
  • Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: BMDO. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1997 February 12 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: LCLV. LV Configuration: LCLV MSX CEP 1.
  • MDT IV Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

1997 February 23 - . 10:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: LCLV. LV Configuration: LCLV MSX CEP 2.
  • MDT III Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: OSC. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

2007 June 15 - . 02:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Woomera. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor.
  • HYCAUSE test - . Nation: USA. Agency: DSTO. Apogee: 530 km (320 mi).

2009 November 5 - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. LV Family: Super Chief. Launch Vehicle: Talos Castor.
  • ARAV C - . Nation: USA. Summary: ABM target.

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