Encyclopedia Astronautica
Blue Scout 1


American suborbital launch vehicle. Air Force version of Scout used for suborbital tests.

NASA began development of the Scout in the late 1960's to provide a low-cost, lightweight, all-solid-propellant space booster. The U.S. Air Force participated, but as usual divergence in requirements led to a different prime contractor and different configuration for the Air Force. The USAF program for System 609A, the Hyper Environmental Test System, resulted in a vehicle referred to as Blue Scout, with Ford Aeronutronics as the prime contractor. The Blue Scout I program was terminated in 1962 after only one success in three launches..

Payload: 88 kg (194 lb) to a 1386 km altitude, 2419 km range. Failures: 2. First Fail Date: 1961-05-09. Last Fail Date: 1962-04-12.

Stage Data - Blue Scout 1

  • Stage 1. 1 x Algol 1. Gross Mass: 10,705 kg (23,600 lb). Empty Mass: 1,900 kg (4,100 lb). Thrust (vac): 470.934 kN (105,870 lbf). Isp: 236 sec. Burn time: 40 sec. Isp(sl): 214 sec. Diameter: 1.01 m (3.31 ft). Span: 1.01 m (3.31 ft). Length: 9.12 m (29.92 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Algol 1. Other designations: Senior. Status: Out of Production. This rocket started as a Polaris test motor with a 40 inch diameter, which at the time was the largest solid motor ever tested. It had a nominal performance rating of 45 seconds duration and 45,000 kgf thrust. Variations included Algol I, I-D, II, II-A, II-B and possibly others. Another popular rating was 40KS-115,000 (52,000 kgf for 40 seconds), also known as Senior.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Castor 2. Gross Mass: 4,424 kg (9,753 lb). Empty Mass: 695 kg (1,532 lb). Thrust (vac): 258.915 kN (58,206 lbf). Isp: 262 sec. Burn time: 37 sec. Isp(sl): 232 sec. Diameter: 0.79 m (2.59 ft). Span: 0.79 m (2.59 ft). Length: 6.04 m (19.81 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: TX-354-3. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Antares 1A. Gross Mass: 1,225 kg (2,700 lb). Empty Mass: 294 kg (648 lb). Thrust (vac): 60.497 kN (13,600 lbf). Isp: 256 sec. Burn time: 39 sec. Isp(sl): 233 sec. Diameter: 0.78 m (2.55 ft). Span: 0.78 m (2.55 ft). Length: 3.38 m (11.08 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: X-254. Status: Out of Production.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

Ford RM-89 Blue Scout I

In the late 1950s, the NASA established the Scout program to develop a multistage solid-propellant space booster and research rocket. The U.S. Air Force also participated in the program, but different requirements led to some divergence in the development of NASA and USAF Scouts. The USAF Scout program was known as HETS (Hyper Environmental Test System) or System 609A, and the rockets were generally referred to as Blue Scout. The prime contractor for the NASA Scout was LTV, but the Blue Scout prime contractor was Ford Aeronutronics.

The basic NASA Scout configuration, from which all variants were derived, was known as Scout-X1. It was a four-stage rocket, which used the following motors:

  • 1st stage: Aerojet General Algol
  • 2nd stage: Thiokol XM33 Castor
  • 3rd stage: Allegany Ballistics Lab X-254 Antares
  • 4th stage: Allegany Ballistics Lab X-248 Altair

The Scout-X1 first flew successfully on 10 October 1960, after an earlier failure in July 1960. The rocket's first stage had four stabilizing fins, and the vehicle incorporated a gyro-based guidance system for attitude stabilization to keep the rocket on course.

By using different combinations of rocket stages, the USAF created several different Blue Scout configurations. One of these was the XRM-89 Blue Scout I, which was a three-stage vehicle, omitting the basic Scout's Altair 4th stage. The first launch of an XRM-89 occurred on 7 January 1961, and was mostly successful. On that flight, the XRM-89 carried a variety of experiments to measure rocket performance and high-altitude fields and particle radiation. The payload was located in a recoverable reentry capsule, but the capsule sunk in the water before it could be recovered. The only other XRM-89 launches (in May 1961 and April 1962) were unsuccessful, and the Blue Scout I program was terminated in 1962.

Other USAF Scout versions were the RM-90 Blue Scout II, the RM-91 Blue Scout Junior (which was by far the most important and successful variant), and the RM-92 Air Force Scout.

Specifications

Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for XRM-89:

Length 21.65 m (71 ft 0.4 in)
Finspan 2.84 m (9 ft 4 in)
Diameter 1st stage: 102 cm (40 in)
2nd stage: 79 cm (31 in)
3rd stage: 76 cm (30 in)
Weight 15900 kg (35000 lb)
Speed 21600 km-h (13400 mph)
Ceiling > 1600 km (1000 miles)
Propulsion 1st stage: Aerojet General Algol 1 solid-fueled rocket; 470 kN (106000 lb) for 40 s
2nd stage: Thiokol XM33 (TX-354-3) Castor 2 solid-fueled rocket; 259 kN (58300 lb) for 37 s
3rd stage: Allegany Ballistics Lab X-254 Antares 1A solid-fueled rocket; 60.5 kN (13600 lb) for 39 s
Main Sources

[1] Peter Alway: "Rockets of the World, 2000 Supplement", Saturn Press, 2000
[2] Norman J. Bowman: "The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles", Perastadion Press, 1963


AKA: Blue Scout I; XRM-89.
Gross mass: 16,738 kg (36,900 lb).
Payload: 88 kg (194 lb).
Height: 22.00 m (72.00 ft).
Diameter: 1.02 m (3.34 ft).
Thrust: 511.50 kN (114,990 lbf).
Apogee: 1,386 km (861 mi).
First Launch: 1961.01.07.
Last Launch: 1962.04.12.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • Algol 1 Aerojet solid rocket engine. 470.9 kN. Isp=236s. This rocket started as a Polaris test motor with a 40 inch diameter, which at the time was the largest solid motor ever tested. First flight 1960. More...
  • TX-354-3 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 258.9 kN. Used in Scout A; Delta E; H-1-0; Castor 2. License built in Japan for H-1. Isp=262s. First flight 1960. More...
  • X-254 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 60.5 kN. Isp=256s. Used on Blue Scout 1, Blue Scout 2, Blue Scout Junior, Scout X-1. First flight 1960. More...

See also
  • Scout Solid-fuel, light payload, lower-cost launch vehicle developed by the Air Force and NASA in the late 1950's and used in a variety of configurations over thirty years. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Wallops Island, and from Italy's equatorial San Marco platform off Kenya. Italy studied but did not develop subsequent upgraded versions. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Vought American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Vought, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • 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...
  • Cape Canaveral LC18B Scout, Delta launch complex. The LC18 complex included two launch pads 18A and 18B. Pad 18B supported 17 Thor missile launches between 4 June 1958 and 1 March 1960. Pad 18B supported half a dozen Blue Scout I, Blue Scout II and Scout missions between 7 January 1961 and 13 April 1962. Complex 18 was deactivated on 1 February 1967. More...

Associated Stages
  • Algol 1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 10,705/1,900 kg. Thrust 470.93 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 236 seconds. This rocket started as a Polaris test motor with a 40 inch diameter, which at the time was the largest solid motor ever tested. It had a nominal performance rating of 45 seconds duration and 45,000 kgf thrust. Variations included Algol I, I-D, II, II-A, II-B and possibly others. Another popular rating was 40KS-115,000 (52,000 kgf for 40 seconds), also known as Senior. More...
  • Antares 1A Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,225/294 kg. Thrust 60.50 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 256 seconds. More...
  • Castor 2 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 4,424/695 kg. Thrust 258.92 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 262 seconds. More...

Blue Scout 1 Chronology


1961 January 7 - . 17:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 1. LV Configuration: Blue Scout I D-3.
  • HETS A1-1 Plasma / radio astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,600 km (900 mi).

1961 May 9 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 1. LV Configuration: Blue Scout I D-6. FAILURE: Failure.
  • HETS A1-2 Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1962 April 12 - . 16:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 1. LV Configuration: Blue Scout I D-7. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Reentry Test re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

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