Encyclopedia Astronautica
Blue Scout 2


American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Air Force version of Scout used for suborbital and orbital military tests.

The Blue Scout 2 used the same stages as the basic NASA, except the fourth stage was fitted to the payload under a fairing of the same diameter as the third stage, and the first stage nozzle used a flared tail skirt between the fins. After three launches in 1961, the vehicle was abandoned by the Air Force in favor of the Blue Scout Junior.

LEO Payload: 30 kg (66 lb) to a 300 km orbit at 28.00 degrees. Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1961-11-01. Last Fail Date: 1961-11-01.

Stage Data - Blue Scout 2

  • 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.
  • Stage 4. 1 x Altair 1. Gross Mass: 238 kg (524 lb). Empty Mass: 30 kg (66 lb). Thrust (vac): 12.450 kN (2,799 lbf). Isp: 256 sec. Burn time: 38 sec. Isp(sl): 233 sec. Diameter: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Span: 0.46 m (1.50 ft). Length: 1.83 m (6.00 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: X-248. Status: Out of Production.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

Ford RM-90 Blue Scout II

The XRM-90 Blue Scout II was a rocket of the U.S. Air Force's System 609A Blue Scout family (for general information on Blue Scout, see article on RM-89 Blue Scout I). The XRM-90 was a four-stage rocket, which used the same stages as the basic NASA Scout. It was nevertheless not identical to the latter, because the 4th stage was hidden in a payload fairing with the same diameter as the 3rd stage, and the first stage nozzle used a flared tail skirt between the fins. Externally, the XRM-90 was indistinguishable from the XRM-89 Blue Scout I.

The first XRM-90 launch occurred on 3 March 1961, followed by a second one on 12 April 1961. Both sub-orbital flights were successful, and measured radiation levels in the Van Allen belts. The second Blue Scout II also carried a micrometeorite sampling experiment, but the recovery of the reentry capsule failed. The third XRM-90 was used by NASA in November 1961 in an attempt to launch a communications payload for Project Mercury into orbit, but this rocket failed. The USAF subsequently abandoned the XRM-89 Blue Scout I and XRM-90 Blue Scout II vehicles, and shifted to the RM-91-SLV-1B Blue Scout Junior instead.

Specifications

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

Data for XRM-90:

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 & 4th stage: 76 cm (30 in)
Weight 15900 kg (35000 lb)
Speed > 29000 km-h (18000 mph)
Ceiling > 2570 km (1600 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
4th stage: Allegany Ballistics Lab X-248 Altair 1 solid-fueled rocket; 12.4 kN (2800 lb) for 38 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
[3] Mark Wade: Encyclopedia Astronautica


AKA: Blue Scout II; XRM-90.
Gross mass: 16,874 kg (37,200 lb).
Payload: 30 kg (66 lb).
Height: 24.00 m (78.00 ft).
Diameter: 1.02 m (3.34 ft).
Thrust: 511.50 kN (114,990 lbf).
Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
First Launch: 1961.03.03.
Last Launch: 1961.11.01.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Radio Test Spacecraft American tracking network technology satellite. One launch, 1961.11.01, Mercury-Scout 1. Small satellite was to have verified the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network More...

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-248 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 12.4 kN. Isp=256s. Used on Atlas Able, Blue Scout 2, Caleb, Delta, Delta A, Delta B, Delta C. First flight 1959. 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 Programs
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. 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...
  • Altair 1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 238/30 kg. Thrust 12.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 256 seconds. 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 2 Chronology


1961 March 3 - . 16:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-4.
  • HETS A2-1 Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 2,540 km (1,570 mi).

1961 April 12 - . 06:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-5.
  • HETS A2-2 Plasma mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,931 km (1,199 mi).

1961 November 1 - . 15:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-8. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mercury MS-1 - . Payload: Radio Test Spacecraft. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Mercury. Class: Technology. Type: Tracking network technology satellite. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Small satellite was to have verified the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network. An attempt was made to launch Mercury-Scout 1 (MS-1) into orbit with a communications package further to qualify the radar tracking of the Mercury global network prior to manned orbital flight. Shortly after lift-off, the launch vehicle developed erratic motions and attending high aerodynamic loads, and was destroyed by the Range Safety Officer after 43 seconds of flight. No further attempts were planned. The Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) mission and the successful Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5), flown on November 29, 1961, disclosed that the network met all requirements.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use