Encyclopedia Astronautica
Thor Able III


American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 3/AJ10 + 1 x Altair

Status: Retired 1959.
Gross mass: 52,000 kg (114,000 lb).
Height: 27.40 m (89.80 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Thrust: 668.00 kN (150,172 lbf).
Apogee: 100,000 km (60,000 mi).
First Launch: 1959.08.07.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • S-2 American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1959.08.07, Explorer 6. First Earth photo; radiation data. More...

See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Explorer Series of satellites launched by Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the exploration of the space environment (micrometeoroids, charged particles, radiation, etc) from both earth orbital and heliocentric orbital locations. 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 LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

Associated Stages
  • Able Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,884/429 kg. Thrust 34.69 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 270 seconds. Engine for Vanguard was AJ10-37; for later Able models AJ10-41 and AJ10-42. Total of 21 stages built and delivered by Aerojet. More...
  • Altair 1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 238/30 kg. Thrust 12.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 256 seconds. More...
  • Thor DM-19 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 49,340/3,125 kg. Thrust 758.71 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 282 seconds. More...

Thor Able III Chronology


1959 August 7 - . 14:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able III. LV Configuration: Thor Able III 134.
  • Explorer 6 - . Payload: S-2. Mass: 64 kg (141 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: S-2. Decay Date: 1961-06-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 15 . COSPAR: 1959-Delta-1. Apogee: 42,400 km (26,300 mi). Perigee: 245 km (152 mi). Inclination: 47.0000 deg. Period: 765.00 min. Summary: First Earth photo; radiation data..

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