Encyclopedia Astronautica
Aerobee RTV-A-1a


American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Aerobee Booster + 1 x Aerobee AJ10-25

Failures: 4. Success Rate: 87.10%. First Fail Date: 1952-01-30. Last Fail Date: 1956-08-03.

Gross mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb).
Height: 7.90 m (25.90 ft).
Diameter: 0.38 m (1.24 ft).
Apogee: 130 km (80 mi).
First Launch: 1951.10.17.
Last Launch: 1956.11.12.
Number: 31 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
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
  • 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...
  • Holloman Military missile and sounding rocket launch site. Also notable for several rocket-powered sleds, used to test a variety of manned and unmanned aircraft and aerospace vehicles at supersonic speeds. Known to have been used for 147 major launches from 1948 to 1959, reaching up to 235 kilometers altitude. More...
  • Fort Churchill Fort Churchill is an Arctic site on Hudson Bay with a rail link. It is near the point of maximum auroral activity. This combination of circumstances made it ideal for far-north sounding rocket launches. In 1954, the Canadian Army conducted the first series of rocket firings at Fort Churchill. Following a period of inactivity, construction of more elaborate facilities in support of the International Geophysical Year began in 1956. IGY firings began in July 1957. The range was closed again in December 1958 after the IGY program ended. It was reopened again in August 1959 by the US Army as part of its network of sounding rocket stations. This allowed use of the site by other groups over the years. More...
  • White Sands LC35 Standard-ER, Black Brant, Aerobee launch complex. Work on LC-35 was begun by the US Navy in 1946. Although no specific requirement had been identified, Captain Robert McLaughlin of the Bureau of Naval Ordnance realized the Navy would need an instrumented range to test the surface-to-air missiles planned for Navy ships. The first facilities built were a blockhouse and two launch towers for Aerobee sounding rockets. From 1947 a total of 675 Aerobees were launched from White Sands, most of these from LC-35. More...

Associated Stages
  • Aerobee 300A-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 272/153 kg. Thrust 80.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 167 seconds. Typical ideal dV=259 m/s; gravity and drag losses = 25 m/s. More...

Aerobee RTV-A-1a Chronology


1951 October 17 - . 18:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 20.
  • Ionosphere Propagation Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi). Summary: lonosphere research. Launched at 1117 local time. Reached 114..3 km..

1952 January 30 - . 20:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 21. FAILURE: Failure..
  • AF / Utah Ionosphere 1 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1345 local time. Failure..

1952 August 26 - . 18:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 29. FAILURE: Failure..
  • AF / Utah Ionosphere 2 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1153 local time. Altitude not reported; possible failure..

1953 February 18 - . 17:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 34.
  • Heating / beacon test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 117 km (72 mi). Summary: Rocket performance test. Launched at 1042 local time. Reached 117.5 km..

1953 April 14 - . 15:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 35.
  • Heating test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 122 km (75 mi). Summary: Rocket performance test. Launched at 0847 local time. Reached 122.3 km..

1953 May 20 - . 14:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 36.
  • AF Airglow 3 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi). Summary: Sky brightness, day airglow research. Launched at 0704 local time. Reached 114.3 km..

1953 May 21 - . 15:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 37.
  • AF Airglow 4 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi). Summary: Sky brightness, day airglow research. Launched at 0847 local time. Reached 114.3 km..

1953 June 26 - . 19:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 38.
  • AF / Utah Ionosphere 3 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 135 km (83 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1210 local time. Reached 135.2 km..

1953 July 1 - . 17:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 39.
  • AF / Utah Ionosphere 4 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 138 km (85 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1052 local time. Reached 138.4 km..

1953 July 14 - . 15:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 40.
  • Solar flux Solar ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 103 km (64 mi). Summary: Solar radiation research. Launched at 0830 local time. Reached 103 km..

1953 July 23 - . 09:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 41.
  • Airglow spectrograph Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 95 km (59 mi). Summary: Atmospheric composition research. Launched at 0247 local time. Reached 95.6 km..

1953 September 15 - . 15:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 42. FAILURE: Early cut-off due to a thrust chamber burn-through..
  • AF Airglow 5 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 32 km (19 mi). Summary: Sky brightness research. Launched at 0802 local time. Reached 32.2 km. Suffered an early cut-off due to a thrust chamber burn-through. Improved chamber cooling was developed in subsequent engines..

1953 September 29 - . 20:50 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC35. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a SC 31.
  • Sphere Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 76 km (47 mi). Summary: Density research. Launched at 1350 local time. Reached 58 km..

1953 October 7 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 43.
  • Solar spectrum Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: Solar radiation research. Launched at 1000 local time. Reached 99.8 km..

1953 November 2 - . 18:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 44.
  • AF / Utah Ionosphere 5 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 120 km (70 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1132 local time. Reached 120.7 km..

1953 November 3 - . 18:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 45.
  • AF / Utah Ionosphere 6 Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 121 km (75 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1115 local time. Reached 121.5 km..

1954 May 11 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 46.
  • Beacon test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 98 km (60 mi). Summary: Rocket performance test. Launched at 0800 local time. Reached 98.2 km..

1954 June 2 - . 16:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 47.
  • Solar ultraviolet spectrum test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 93 km (57 mi). Summary: Rocket performance test. Launched at 0910 local time. Reached 93.4 km..

1954 July 14 - . 13:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 48.
  • UM wind vanes Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 92 km (57 mi). Summary: Temperature, aspect research. Launched at 0855 local time. Reached 91.8 km..

1954 August 11 - . 17:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 49.
  • AF / Utah D-layer Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 92 km (57 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1025 local time. Reached 91.8 km..

1954 September 17 - . 14:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 50.
  • Solar flux Solar ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 94 km (58 mi). Summary: Solar radiation research. Launched at 1731 local time. Reached 94.7 km..

1955 January 22 - . 00:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 51.
  • Sodium Release 1 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 94 km (58 mi). Summary: Airglow research. Launched at 1754 local time. Reached 94.8 km..

1955 February 7 - . 18:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 52.
  • AF / Utah D-layer Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 120 km (70 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1151 local time. Reached 120.4 km..

1955 February 10 - . 22:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 53.
  • AF / Utah D-layer Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 76 km (47 mi). Summary: Ionosphere research. Launched at 1538 local time. Reached 76.1 km..

1955 March 29 - . 16:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 54.
  • Solar far ultraviolet / Lyra Alpha Solar / aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 112 km (69 mi). Summary: Solar radiation research. Launched at 0947 local time. Reached 112.7 km..

1955 October 13 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 60.
  • Sodium Release 2 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 101 km (62 mi). Summary: Sodium studies research. Launched at 1800 local time. Reached 101.4 km..

1956 March 12 - . 21:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 62.
  • Release B (NO) Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 95 km (59 mi). Summary: Nitric oxide attempt to produce sporadic E research. Launched at 1415 local time. Reached 95 km..

1956 March 14 - . 08:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 63.
  • Release (NO) Ionosphere / aeronomy / chemica mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 106 km (65 mi). Summary: Nitric oxide attempt to recombine atomic oxygen research. Launched at 0145 local time. Reached 106.2 km..

1956 April 12 - . 02:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 64.
  • Sodium Release 3 Ionosphere / aeronomy / chemica mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 106 km (65 mi). Summary: Sodium cloud, ionization research. Launched at 1005 local time. Reached 106.2 km..

1956 August 3 - . 12:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Complex: Holloman A. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a USAF 72. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Ultraviolet Spectrograph Solar ultraviolet mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi). Summary: Solar spectrum and atmospheric composition research. Launched at 0556 local time. Reached 2.4 km..

1956 November 12 - . 11:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Fort Churchill. LV Family: Aerobee. Launch Vehicle: Aerobee RTV-A-1a. LV Configuration: Aerobee RTV-A-1a SM1.01.
  • Grenades Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 67 km (41 mi). Summary: Temperature, winds research. Launched at 0546 local time. Reached 67.5 km..

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