Encyclopedia Astronautica
Trailblazer 1


American test vehicle. The rocket's first three stages would take the upper stage package to a 260 km apogee. The upper stage package was mounted upside-down in relation to the other stages. When it had reached the peak, the three upper stages fired in sequence, ramming the payload, a 13 cm sphere, into the atmosphere at orbital re-entry speeds.

Different materials were used in the sphere in each test, and ground observations were made of the spectra and luminance of the 'artificial meteorites' thus created.

On the 1G mission, an actual 'artificial meteorite' was flown. This was a 5.8 g steel pellet, which was driven into the atmosphere at 6 km/sec by a 'seventh stage', a shaped charge that accelerated the pellet after burnout of the rocket's six stage. This experiment provided a known reference by which the size of actual meteoroids could be measured according to the luminance of their trails.

The vehicle consisted of an Honest John rocket as the first stage, topped by 1 x Nike and 1 x Lance. The upside-down upper-stage package consisted of 1 x T-40 + 1 x T-55 + 1 x Cygnus 5 motors.

Payload: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb) to a 280 km altitude.

Gross mass: 3,400 kg (7,400 lb).
Payload: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb).
Height: 17.10 m (56.10 ft).
Diameter: 0.58 m (1.90 ft).
Span: 2.61 m (8.56 ft).
Thrust: 365.00 kN (82,055 lbf).
Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).
First Launch: 1959.03.03.
Last Launch: 1963.02.16.
Number: 15 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Trailblazer The Trailblazer rockets were designed to conduct experiments in re-entry physics. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA Langley American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Langley, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...

Associated Stages
  • HJ Nike Nike-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 599/256 kg. Thrust 195.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 195 seconds. The average sea level thrust of the Nike rocket motor was 190.3 kN. The interstage adapter was bolted to the front of the Nike and consisted of a conical shaped adapter which slip-fit into the second stage nozzle, thus providing for drag separation at Nike burnout. Each Nike fin was 0.45 square meters in area. Normally, the fins were canted to provide a two revolutions per second spin rate at Nike burnout. More...
  • HJ Nike-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,900/954 kg. Thrust 365.00 kN. Rocket motor originally developed for the Army Honest John tactical missile. In sounding rocket applications the interstage adapter was bolted to the front of the Taurus and consisted of a conical shaped adapter which slip-fit into the second stage nozzle, thus providing for drag separation at Taurus burnout. Each Taurus fin was 0.46 square meters in area. Normally, the fins were canted to provide a two revolutions per second spin rate at Taurus burnout. The weight of the booster system is 3005 pounds. More...

Trailblazer 1 Chronology


1959 March 3 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB I alpha?.
  • D58 re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1959 June 5 - . 04:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB I beta?.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1959 December 1 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB I gamma?.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1960 March 29 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ia?.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1960 June 26 - . 06:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ib.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 294 km (182 mi).

1960 August 29 - . 03:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ic.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1960 August 29 - . 06:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Id.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1960 October 22 - . 03:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ie.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 January 18 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB If.
  • D58 Trailblazer re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 April 21 - . 05:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ig.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1961 May 18 - . 06:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ih.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1961 September 17 - . 04:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ii.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1962 April 3 - . 04:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ij.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi).

1962 July 28 - . 02:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 1 TB Ik.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1963 February 16 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 1.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

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