Encyclopedia Astronautica
Keweenaw



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Keweenaw
Credit: © Mark Wade
In 1962 the University of Michigan proposed a launch site near the center of the North American continent. This would fill in a gap in the US Army's Meteorological Rocket Network. Following a survey of available sites a location on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior was selected. The site was in use from 1964-1971.

The state of Michigan provided a $ 52,850 grant, a local lumber company donated land, and construction of the austere facility began in the summer of 1964. The site was to be mainly used in the winter, in order not to endanger shipping on the lake. The first launches were made from a portable telescoping tower of Arcas rockets in August of the same year. From 1965-1966 the site was used for US Navy experiments with WEBROC. This was a concept of encapsulated Mighty Mouse rockets that would be housed in unattended buoys and launched at intervals to obtain weather information in remote areas of the world's oceans. This was extended to project Nomad in 1968-1969, which tested a ten metric ton buoy with 60 Mighty Mouse launchers. Finally in 1970-1971 NASA launched two Nike-Apache rockets from the site, which was the literal apogee of its use. The University's proposals to NASA to expand use of the site, including using surplus Redstone rockets for orbital launches northwards over Canada, were not funded. The site was never used again.

Location: Keweenaw Rocket Launch Site (KRLS), Michigan.
Longitude: -87.7144 deg.
Latitude: 47.4298 deg.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Apache The Apache upper stage was an improved version of the Cajun. The Thiokol engine used aluminised polyurethane propellant with a higher specific impulse and phenolic lining in the steel nozzle. Cost to NASA was $ 6,000 per rocket. The Apache could be used in a single stage version, but was normally used with a booster stage, usually the Nike. More...
  • Arcas The Arcas (All-Purpose Rocket for Collecting Atmospheric Soundings) was developed by the Atlantic Research Corporation for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) with the support of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories. Primarily a meteorological rocket, the Arcas was first fired in July 1959. The single-stage version was designed to lift 5.4 kg to 64 km. For more demanding missions, several versions of boosted Arcas were developed, as well as a stretched Super Arcas motor. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Nike Apache American sounding rocket. The most popular sounding rocket introduced during the early 1960's was this two-stage, solid-propellant vehicle consisting of a Nike booster and Apache upper stage. More...
  • Arcas American sounding rocket. The Arcas (All-Purpose Rocket for Collecting Atmospheric Soundings) was developed by the Atlantic Research Corporation for the Office of Naval Research (ONR) with the support of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories. Primarily a meteorological rocket, the Arcas was first fired in July 1959. The single-stage version was designed to lift 5.4 kg to 64 km. For more demanding missions, several versions of boosted Arcas were developed, as well as a stretched Super Arcas motor. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Michigan American agency overseeing development of rockets. Univeristy of Michigan, USA. More...

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

Keweenaw Chronology


1964 August 1 - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Michigan. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1964 August 6 - . 12:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas Weather.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Michigan. Apogee: 66 km (41 mi).

1964 September 1 - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Michigan. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1964 September 1 - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Michigan. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1964 September 14 - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Michigan. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1971 January 29 - . 17:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.167GI.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 132 km (82 mi).

1971 January 31 - . 13:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Keweenaw. LV Family: Apache. Launch Vehicle: Nike Apache. LV Configuration: Nike Apache NASA 14.373GI.
  • Ionosphere mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).

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