Encyclopedia Astronautica
Wac


Development of the JPL-Ordnance WAC began in 1944. In 1946 it became the first American rocket to exceed 80 km altitude (above the earth's atmosphere as defined by publicity of the time). It was capable of taking 11 kg to 30 km altitude and was powered by a liquid propellant engine originally developed for JATO applications.

The WAC A, also called the WAC-Corporal, was developed as the 'little sister' of the Corporal military rocket by the California Institute of Technology GALCIT group. The propellants were hypergolic and the rocket was fin stabilized during ascent after exiting a 30-m high, three-rail launch tower. In order to test the tower launch concept and aerodynamic design, GALCIT fired 24 small Private A small solid-propellant rocket in December 1944.

Initial tests using a 1/5 scale 'Baby Wac' began in July 1945. Further basic airframe and control tests began on 26 September 1945, using a Tiny Tim solid rocket booster (the Tiny Tim, a US Navy air-to-surface rocket, used a standard oil drill casing into which solid propellant was poured). Finally on 11 October 1945 the first 'all-up' WAC Corporal was launched. The WAC Corporal was boosted up its launch tower by a Tiny Tim booster, which burned for 0.6 seconds. The main engine, powered by hypergolic aniline+furfuryl alcohol / RNNA propellants, burned for a total of 47 seconds. The rocket would burn out at 24 km altitude, then coast up to 70 km. The rocket was equipped with a recovery parachute and could be refueled and reused.

The original of the name WAC is obscure. A series of rockets Private - Corporal - Sergeant were planned for the Army. Perhaps using the Women's Air Corps designation was considered in line with the other family names. Others state it was an abbreviation for "Without Attitude Control".

The first production run of WAC A's was followed by the WAC B. This had lighter engines and structure and an improved telemetry unit.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Wac Development of the JPL-Ordnance WAC began in 1944. In 1946 it became the first American rocket to exceed 80 km altitude (above the earth's atmosphere as defined by publicity of the time). It was capable of taking 11 kg to 30 km altitude and was powered by a liquid propellant engine originally developed for JATO applications. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing. More...

Wac Chronology


1945 September 27 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC. LV Configuration: WAC 1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Dummy launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: Launcher/booster stage test. No upper stage..

1945 September 28 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC. LV Configuration: WAC 2.
  • Dummy launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi). Summary: Launcher/booster stage test. No upper stage..

1945 October 1 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC. LV Configuration: WAC 3.
  • 1 / 4 Charge test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi). Summary: Launcher/booster stage test. No upper stage..

1945 October 2 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC. LV Configuration: WAC 4.
  • 1 / 4 Charge test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi). Summary: Launcher/booster stage test. No upper stage..

1945 October 11 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 5.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 72 km (44 mi). Summary: First 'all-up' Wac Corporal launch. Recovery system failed..

1945 October 12 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 6.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 72 km (44 mi). Summary: The parachute failed, but the nose cone also came off. This set the rocket on a tumbling re-entry, providing sufficient braking that it hit the ground pretty well intact..

1945 October 16 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 7.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 27 km (16 mi).

1945 October 19 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 8.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 72 km (44 mi). Summary: The nose ejected just after the rocket cleared the tower..

1945 October 25 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi). Summary: Emergency launch when the parachute igniter fired..

1945 October 25 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 9.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi). Summary: Night launch, the nose failed to eject. Last development flight..

1946 May 10 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC A. LV Configuration: WAC A 12.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1946 May 22 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC. LV Configuration: WAC A.
  • Ordnance WAC Flight 2 - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi). Summary: First American rocket to escape earth's atmosphere, the JPL-Ordnance Wac, reached 80 km altitude after launch from WSPG. First fully successful production WAC flight..

1946 December 2 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 21. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Booster test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 4.00 km (2.40 mi).

1946 December 3 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 22.
  • Modified WAC A test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1946 December 6 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 23.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 27 km (16 mi).

1946 December 12 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 25.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 49 km (30 mi).

1946 December 12 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 24.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi).

1946 December 13 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 26.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 53 km (32 mi).

1947 February 18 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 27B. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Booster test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 4.00 km (2.40 mi).

1947 February 19 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 28B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 44 km (27 mi).

1947 February 24 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 29B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 73 km (45 mi).

1947 March 3 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 30B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 63 km (39 mi).

1947 June 12 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 29B?.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1949 May 9 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 9B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1949 May 27 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Wac. Launch Vehicle: WAC B. LV Configuration: WAC B 9B.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA OR. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use