Encyclopedia Astronautica
AEC


American agency overseeing development of rocket engines and rockets. Atomic Energy Commission, USA. Responsible for development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power applications. Became part of the newly-created Department of Energy in 1971.

AKA: AEC (1945-1971); DOE (1971-).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • Nerva DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 266 kN. Study 1968. Early version of Nerva engine proposed for use in Saturn and RIFT configurations in 1961. Isp=800s. More...
  • Nerva 2 DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 867.4 kN. Developed 1950-74. Isp=825s. More...
  • Nerva Alpha DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 71.7 kN. Study 1972. The final Nerva Alpha flight engine reference configuration as documented at the end of its development. Isp=860s. More...
  • Nerva Gamma DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 81 kN. Study 1972. Isp=975s. The final Nerva Gamma flight engine was an improved version of the Alpha, a small engine that could be launched together with its stage and a payload in a single space shuttle launch. More...
  • Nerva NTR DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 333.4 kN. Study 1991. Late 1980's update of 1960's Nerva design. Isp=925s. More...
  • Timberwind 250 DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 2451.6 kN. Development ended 1992. Isp=1000s. Used on Timberwind launch vehicle. More...
  • Timberwind 45 DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 441.3 kN. Development ended 1992. Isp=1000s. Used on Timberwind Centaur launch vehicle. More...
  • Timberwind 75 DoE nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 735.5 kN. Development ended 1992. Isp=1000s. Used on Timberwind Titan launch vehicle. More...

See also
  • Agency Agencies or institutions overseeing design, development, construction, or operation of space-related systems. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Nike Viper I American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Nike + 1 x Viper I More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Mercury Sounding rocket launch location known to have been used for 9 launches in 1957, reaching up to 30 kilometers altitude, for support of nuclear tests. More...
  • Nevada Test Site Nuclear test site. Sounding rockets and test vehicles have been launched in support of US nuclear weapons development from the site since the 1950's. More...

AEC Chronology


1960 February 4 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Viper. Launch Vehicle: Nike Viper I.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 April 29 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Viper. Launch Vehicle: Nike Viper I.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 June 27 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Viper. Launch Vehicle: Nike Viper I.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 July 1 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Deacon Arrow II.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 July 8 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Deacon Arrow II.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 July 14 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Deacon Arrow II.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 July 20 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun. LV Configuration: Nike Cajun AEC probe.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 120 km (70 mi).

1960 September 30 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Viper. Launch Vehicle: Nike Viper I.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1960 November 21 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1960 November 22 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Cajun. Launch Vehicle: Nike Cajun.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1961 March 27 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-B. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Deacon Arrow II.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

1962 July 9 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg LC-A. Launch Vehicle: Journeyman.
  • Magnetosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi).

1962 October 20 - . 08:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Johnston Island. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Castor-Recruit.
  • CHECKMATE Nuclear test - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 147 km (91 mi). Test of the Los Alamos XW-50X1 60 kiloton nuclear warhead. Launch vehicle was a solid propellant XM-33 Strypi rocket with a Recruit booster stage. The warhead detonated at an altitude of 147 km, 66 km from Johnston Island. Observers on the island saw a green and blue circular region surrounded by a red ring. This faded in less than a minute. Blue-green streamers and pink striations developed that lasted half an hour. At this yield, even with the high altitude, extensive disruption of communications were not reported.

1965 April 3 - . 21:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 7401.
  • Snapshot - . Payload: SNAP 10A / Agena D / OPS 4682. Mass: 440 kg (970 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; AEC. Class: Technology. Type: Ion engine technology satellite. Spacecraft: Snapshot. USAF Sat Cat: 1314 . COSPAR: 1965-027A. Apogee: 1,314 km (816 mi). Perigee: 1,270 km (780 mi). Inclination: 90.3000 deg. Period: 111.40 min. Only nuclear reactor ever orbited by the United States. The SNAP-10A reactor provided electrical power for an 8.5 mN ion engine using cesium propellant. The engine was shut off after one hour of operation when high-voltage spikes created electromagnetic interference with the satellite's attitude control system sensors. The reactor continued in operation, generating 39 kWt and more than 500 watts of electrical power for 43 days before the spacecraft telemetry failed.

1968 September 25 - . 01:40 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas PSU-NO-1.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1968 December 7 - . 01:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas PSU-NO-2.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1968 December 13 - . 01:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas PSU-NO-3.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

1968 December 18 - . 01:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas PSU-NO-4.
  • Control flight Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: AEC. Apogee: 70 km (43 mi).

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