Encyclopedia Astronautica
Rockaire


American air-launched sounding rocket. This USAF version of the Navy Rockair (research rocket launched from aircraft) vehicle consisted of a Deacon rocket launched from an F-86D Sabrejet fighter.

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

If balloons were so useful in stretching rocket performance, why not try high-altitude aircraft? Thus, the "rockaire" concept was born. Actually the rockaire concept was first suggested by Hermann Oberth in his 1929 classic Wege zur Raumschiffahrt. The Air Force studied the idea on and off from 1947 on. The Navy did the same and finally tried the idea out on August 16, 1955, using a Navy F2H2 aircraft off Wallops Island. An altitude of 54 864 m (180 000 ft) was reached with a 69.9-mm (2.75-in.) folded-fin aerial rocket (FFAR) of Korean vintage. The Air Force launched theirs in 1956. In general, however, the rockaire concept never achieved the popularity of the rockoon. Apparently no important scientific rocket research was carried out with rockaires, in contrast to the hundreds of rockoons fired during the 1950s.

Success Rate: 100.00%. Launch data is: complete.

Status: Retired 1956.
Gross mass: 100 kg (220 lb).
Height: 2.70 m (8.80 ft).
Diameter: 0.16 m (0.52 ft).
Thrust: 30.00 kN (6,744 lbf).
Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).
First Launch: 1956.12.13.
Last Launch: 1956.12.19.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NRL American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • 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...

Associated Stages

Rockaire Chronology


1956 December 13 - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Platform: F-86D. Launch Vehicle: Rockaire. LV Configuration: Rockaire RA-1?.
  • Rockair 2710 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 44 km (27 mi).

1956 December 14 - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Platform: F-86D. Launch Vehicle: Rockaire. LV Configuration: Rockaire RA-2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 42 km (26 mi).

1956 December 17 - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Platform: F-86D. Launch Vehicle: Rockaire. LV Configuration: Rockaire RA-3.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 43 km (26 mi).

1956 December 19 - . Launch Site: Holloman. Launch Platform: F-86D. Launch Vehicle: Rockaire. LV Configuration: Rockaire RA-4.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 45 km (27 mi).

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