Encyclopedia Astronautica
Aerobee 350


American sounding rocket. In March 1957 an Aerojet engineer conceived of the 'ultimate Aerobee', with the body diameter increased to 46 cm diameter and powered by four engines. The design found no takers until it was pitched to NASA in 1961 and development was authorised. The final configuration selected used a Nike Ajax missile booster, 56 cm in diameter, followed by the Aerobee 350, equipped with 4 Aerobee 150A engines. The rocket could take 65 kg to 480 km altitude or 455 kg to 240 km altitude.

NASA funded the rocket in FY 1964, and the first test with a live booster and dummy upper stage took place at Wallops Island on 11 December 1964. The first all-up flight took place on 18 June 1965 and a total of twenty were subsequently flown. The 2 stage vehicle consisted of 1 x Nike + 1 x AJ60-91

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

Late in 1961 Aerojet submitted a proposal to NASA for the development of a new member of the liquid-fueled Aerobee series, the Aerobee 350. Goddard let the development contract to Aerojet in 1962 and assigned John H. Lane as Project Manager at Goddard. The 350 was a large Aerobee, consisting of a Nike booster plus a cluster of four Aerobee 150 engines with another 150 as the upper stage. It could launch 227 kg (500 lb) to about 340 km (210 mi) and was designed specifically to give instruments a "soft ride " The Aerobee 350 also incorporated a sophisticated attitude-control system that could select several astronomical targets during flight. The first test of the first "all-Goddard" rocket took place on December 11, 1964, at Wallops Island, when the booster stage was tested successfully with a dummy second stage. The purpose of the test was to check compatibility between the new rocket and the Aerobee launch tower at Wallops. The first complete system test of the Aerobee 350 was successful at Wallops Island on June 18, 1965.

Payload: 227 kg (500 lb) to a 450 km altitude.

Gross mass: 3,839 kg (8,463 lb).
Payload: 227 kg (500 lb).
Height: 15.90 m (52.10 ft).
Diameter: 0.56 m (1.83 ft).
Span: 2.30 m (7.50 ft).
Thrust: 217.00 kN (48,783 lbf).
Apogee: 450 km (270 mi).
First Launch: 1964.12.11.
Last Launch: 1984.05.09.
Number: 20 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • AJ60-91 Aerojet rocket engine. 72.324 kN. Aerobee 350. Aerobee motor. Four Chambers More...

See also
  • Aerobee In late 1945 James Van Allen was assigned by John Hopkins University to survey sounding rocket requirements for upper atmosphere research. The V-2 was found to be too heavy and complex. In 1946 Van Allen decided that what was needed was a small rocket, derived from the Aerojet Wac Corporal and the Bumblebee missile developed under a US Navy program. This combination of an Aerojet booster and a Bumblebee second stage was dubbed the Aerobee. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Aerojet American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Aerojet, Sacramento, CA, USA. 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...
  • 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...

Associated Stages
  • Aerobee 350-2 Nitric acid/Aniline propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,000/1,050 kg. Thrust 72.00 kN. More...
  • HJ Nike Nike-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 599/256 kg. Thrust 195.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 195 seconds. The average sea level thrust of the Nike rocket motor was 190.3 kN. The interstage adapter was bolted to the front of the Nike and consisted of a conical shaped adapter which slip-fit into the second stage nozzle, thus providing for drag separation at Nike burnout. Each Nike fin was 0.45 square meters in area. Normally, the fins were canted to provide a two revolutions per second spin rate at Nike burnout. More...

Aerobee 350 Chronology


1964 December 11 - . 18:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 12.02GT.
  • Dummy sustainer test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi).

1965 June 18 - . 23:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.01GT.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 374 km (232 mi).

1966 August 17 - . 19:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.02GT-GI-GS.
  • Test / ionosphere-solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 358 km (222 mi).

1969 January 26 - . 09:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.03GE.
  • Electron gun Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 271 km (168 mi).

1970 April 14 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.05GT-GG.
  • Astronomy / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 88 km (54 mi).

1970 August 13 - . 16:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.06UE.
  • ECHO I Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 350 km (210 mi).

1971 February 22 - . 00:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.09UG.
  • Crab polarization X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 196 km (121 mi).

1971 June 10 - . 23:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.11UA.
  • JHU Airglow 11 / S169 Aeronomy / test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 328 km (203 mi).

1971 June 24 - . 05:50 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.08CG.
  • LPARL XRT X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1974 February 16 - . 08:33 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 CRL A35.191-2.
  • HISTAR Infrared astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 111 km (68 mi).

1974 April 6 - . 04:10 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.12CG.
  • Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 237 km (147 mi).

1975 February 3 - . 09:16 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.13CG.
  • Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 253 km (157 mi).

1975 March 15 - . 04:10 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.15UG.
  • Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 214 km (132 mi).

1975 December 4 - . 03:22 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 CRL A35.191-1.
  • Infrared astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF CRL. Apogee: 286 km (177 mi).

1975 December 6 - . 06:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.16UH.
  • X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 221 km (137 mi).

1976 June 17 - . 05:30 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.17UH.
  • SAO XR X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 232 km (144 mi).

1976 August 3 - . 19:16 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 GL A35.191-4.
  • HISTAR Infrared astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF GL. Apogee: 257 km (159 mi).

1982 March 13 - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.18DG.
  • NRL Mk II ultraviolet Camera Ultraviolet astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1982 November 15 - . 08:00 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.19DG.
  • Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1984 May 9 - . 06:30 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee 350. LV Configuration: Aerobee 350 NASA 17.20UH.
  • X-ray astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

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