Encyclopedia Astronautica
Trailblazer 2


American test vehicle. NASA rocket designed for high-speed re-entry tests.

The Trailblazer 2 continued the work of NASA's Trailblazer 1 in taking re-entry test payloads high into space, then ramming them back down into the atmosphere. However the earlier version had a very small payload, meaning only ground observations could be made of the re-entry. The Trailblazer-2 was much more powerful, meaning instrumentation in the vehicle could send data to the ground. The first two stages of the rocket would take the upper stage package to an altitude of 300 km. The upper two stages would then fire, driving the 18 kg payload into the atmosphere at 6.1 km/sec.

The rocket was also used for further 'artificial meteorite' experiments. 0.7-0.8 gram steel pellets or chunks of explosive would be accelerated by a fifth stage and a shaped charge to up to 11.9 km/sec. The meteorite trails thus created were observed from the ground and gave astronomers a calibrated basis for inferring the size of natural meteorites from the trails they created.

Payload: 18 kg (39 lb) to a 300 km altitude.

Gross mass: 6,100 kg (13,400 lb).
Payload: 18 kg (39 lb).
Height: 15.70 m (51.50 ft).
Diameter: 0.79 m (2.59 ft).
Span: 3.38 m (11.07 ft).
Thrust: 547.00 kN (122,970 lbf).
Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
First Launch: 1961.12.14.
Last Launch: 1973.12.06.
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
  • Altair 1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 238/30 kg. Thrust 12.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 256 seconds. More...
  • Castor 1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,852/535 kg. Thrust 286.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 247 seconds. More...

Trailblazer 2 Chronology


1961 December 14 - . 07:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 TB IIa.
  • Trailblazer IIa re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 157 km (97 mi). NASA fired a four-stage solid-fuel Trailblazer rocket from Wallops Station, Virginia, in the first of a series of reentry tests. Two stages boosted the rocket to 167 miles; then the other two drove the nose cone down through the atmosphere at 14,000 miles per hour.

1962 May 6 - . 05:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2-M TB IIb.
  • Meteor 1 Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1963 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2-M TB IId.
  • Trailblazer IId re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1965 May 1 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2.
  • Ultraviolet reentry experiment Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1966 Feb - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2.
  • AFAL 1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1966 March 18 - . 01:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2-M Meteor 8.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 280 km (170 mi).

1966 October 26 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2.
  • Blackout study re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1967 February 14 - . 05:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2-M Meteor 10.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi).

1967 June 18 - . 20:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 AD21.860.
  • AFCRL TB2-1 Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1967 Oct - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2.
  • AFAL 3 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1968 Nov - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2.
  • AFAL 4 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

1969 June 18 - . 01:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 CRL AD21.861.
  • AFRCL TB2-2 Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 299 km (185 mi).

1970 November 21 - . 23:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 CRL AD21.862.
  • AFCRL TB2-3 Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 321 km (199 mi).

1972 July 28 - . 18:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 CRL A21.011-1.
  • AFCRL TB2-4 Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 314 km (195 mi).

1973 December 6 - . 17:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Trailblazer. Launch Vehicle: Trailblazer 2. LV Configuration: Trailblazer 2 CRL A21.220-1.
  • AFCRL TB2-5 Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 303 km (188 mi).

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