Encyclopedia Astronautica
San Nicolas



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San Nicolas
Credit: © Mark Wade
Military facility on the California Channel Islands, used for rocket launches in support of other missile tests from Vandenberg or Point Mugu. Known to have been used for 35 launches from 1957 to 2004, reaching up to 443 kilometers altitude.

Location: San Nicolas Island, Pacific Missile Range, California.
Longitude: -119.5221 deg.
Latitude: 33.2798 deg.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • 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...
  • Arrow The Arrow weapon system was a ground-based, ballistic missile defense system designed to protect Israel against ballistic missiles. More...
  • Asp Sounding rocket (Atmospheric Sounding Projectile) originally designed against a US Navy Bureeau of Ships requirement to sample the mushroom clouds of nuclear explosions. Developed by Cooper Development Corporation for the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory. Flight test in 1956. Designed to lift 13.6 kg to 40 km. More...
  • Black Brant The Black Brant originated in a 1957 Canadian government requirement for a sounding rocket to characterize the ionosphere in order to improve military communications. Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, Manitoba was selected to design the rocket, while the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) was responsible for the propellant and filling. The lighter production version of the vehicle was renamed Black Brant. Later versions of Black Brant used a variety of booster and upper stages to supplement the original single-stage vehicle. More...
  • Deacon The Deacon was an advanced solid rocket motor design cancelled at the end of World War II. In 1947 NACA began using reworked surplus motors to boost instrumented subscale aircraft models to speeds of up to Mach 4. They became a workhorse for the Agency's aerodynamic research, resulting in new production. Thousands were flown, until, by the end of the 1950's, supersonic wind tunnels took over the job. More...
  • Redstone Redstone was the first large liquid rocket developed in the US using German V-2 technology. Originally designated Hermes C. Redstones later launched the first US satellite and the first American astronaut into space. More...
  • Sergeant Single-stage solid-propulsion tactical ballistic missile developed for the US Army. Surplus rockets and the Sergeant's rocket motor (known commercially as Castor) became the basis for many sounding rockets. More...
  • Terrier Standard US Navy surface-to-air missile developed during the 1950's. Modified single stage Navy Terrier missiles were used as sounding rockets, sometimes supplemented with upper stages. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Redstone Redstone was the first large liquid rocket developed in the US using German V-2 technology. Originally designated Hermes C. Redstones later launched the first US satellite and the first American astronaut into space. More...
  • Nike Deacon American test vehicle. Two-stage rocket using surplus Nike boosters and Deacon sounding rocket upper stage. The combination was much cheaper than Aerobee, and unlike Rockoon could be launched from fixed launchers in two and a half hours. It was used for 'falling sphere' air density studies, atmospheric soundings, and for heat transfer studies launched from NACA Wallops Island. More...
  • Nike Asp American sounding rocket. Rail-launched vehicle consisting of an Asp plus a Nike booster. This product of the Cooper Development Corporation was designed to lift 27 kg to 260 km. An improved version, the Aspan 300, was also developed.The Nike-Asp was sometimes ship-launched. 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...
  • Caleb American air-launched orbital launch vehicle. Heavily classifed project related to air-launched ASAT development. Launch tests in 1958. NOTS project staff believed they successully orbited a satellite but unconfirmed. More...
  • Terrier/551 American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier + 1 x NOTS 551 More...
  • Rocketsonde American sounding rocket. Meteorological sounding rockets that could use Loki Datasonde, Arcas, or Deacon rockets as the booster. More...
  • Aries American target missile. Space Vector Corporation developed and flew the Aries test vehicle (based on the Minuteman 1 second stage) for Strategic Defence Initiative payloads. More...
  • Black Brant 9 Canadian sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier Mk 70 + 1 x Black Brant VB. More...
  • Arrow 2 Israeli theater missile defense weapon developed and manufactured using substantial American funding. More...
  • Terrier Lynx American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier + 1 x Lynx More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...

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

San Nicolas Chronology


1957 July 2 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.37F.
  • NRL NN7.37F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 93 km (57 mi).

1957 July 3 - . 09:28 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.38F.
  • NRL NN7.38F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 113 km (70 mi).

1957 July 15 - . 14:23 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.39F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.39F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 28 km (17 mi).

1957 July 23 - . 16:29 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.40F.
  • NRL NN7.40F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 129 km (80 mi).

1957 August 5 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.41F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.41F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

1957 August 20 - . 09:49 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.42F/DAN-20.
  • NRL NN7.42F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 96 km (59 mi).

1957 August 27 - . 08:54 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.43F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.43F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi).

1957 August 28 - . 13:21 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.44F.
  • NRL NN7.44F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 96 km (59 mi).

1957 August 29 - . 14:12 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.45F/DAN-23.
  • NRL NN7.45F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 113 km (70 mi).

1957 September 12 - . 16:20 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.46F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.46F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

1957 September 15 - . 13:27 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.47F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.47F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1957 September 18 - . 18:42 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.48F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Solar Ultraviolet/Solar X-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 21 km (13 mi).

1957 September 18 - . 18:54 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.49F.
  • Solar Ultraviolet/Solar X-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 77 km (47 mi).

1957 September 26 - . 20:00 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NN8.50F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi).

1957 December 10 - . 18:10 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Asp. Launch Vehicle: Nike Asp. LV Configuration: Nike Asp NN8.51F.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 169 km (105 mi).

1961 October 1 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Caleb. LV Configuration: Caleb SIP.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NOTS. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi). Satellite Interceptor Program (SIP) test vehicle. This was a follow-on to China Lake's "Notsnik" air-launched satellite and Caleb space-probe projects, SIP was a prototype air-launched satellite-killer system using primarily in-house technology and hardware.

1962 May 5 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Caleb. LV Configuration: Caleb SIP.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN NOTS. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

1963 March 18 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Sounding Rocket.
  • Deployability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1963 March 20 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Sounding Rocket.
  • Deployability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1963 March 21 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Sergeant. Launch Vehicle: Sounding Rocket.
  • Deployability test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1964 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro 09 Sphere - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro 03 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro 05 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro 06 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro 04 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 May 1 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas. LV Configuration: Sparrow Arcas OP 411176.
  • Denpro 07 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 May 8 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas. LV Configuration: Sparrow Arcas OP 411391.
  • Denpro 08 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 Aug - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro 10 Sphere - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 December 16 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro II Meteorological mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 December 17 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas. LV Configuration: Sparrow Arcas OP 417158A.
  • Denpro - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1964 December 17 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Frangible Arcas test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 39 km (24 mi).

1964 December 17 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Sparrow Arcas.
  • Denpro III Meteorological mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1965 May 20 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas FAS-1.
  • AFFT-3/Arcasonde 1A - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 21 km (13 mi).

1965 October 20 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier/551. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Flight test 1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NMC. Apogee: 5.00 km (3.10 mi).

1965 November 29 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone.
  • Project Defender Redstone launch. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Redstone launched as ballistic missile target and was successfully intercepted by a US Navy Terrier surface-to-air missile launched from Point Mugu, California..

1965 November 30 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Redstone. Launch Vehicle: Redstone.
  • DAT-371 Target mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA; DARPA. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi). Redstone launched as ballistic missile target for a US Navy Terrier surface-to-air missile launched from Point Mugu, California. It was reported that there were two Redstone launches as part of Project Defender from November 30 to December 13, 1965, but details of the second launch are not known.

1965 December 1 - . 01:28 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone CC-2036.
  • DAT-371 Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi).

1965 December 1 - . 01:28 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Terrier.
  • DAT-371 Intercept - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 8.00 km (4.90 mi).

1965 December 21 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas FAS-2.
  • AFFT-4/Arcasonde 1A - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

1966 August 2 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier/551.
  • Flight test 2 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NMC. Apogee: 443 km (275 mi).

1967 May 4 - . 16:29 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas.
  • Robin - . Nation: USA. Agency: AFCRL. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1968 September 11 - . 18:21 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Arcas. Launch Vehicle: Arcas. LV Configuration: Arcas Arcasonde.
  • Meteorological mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1969 May 7 - . 17:40 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Rocketsonde.
  • Met Para, Arcasonde - . Nation: USA. Agency: MRN. Apogee: 48 km (29 mi).

1970 September 16 - . 18:36 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Rocketsonde.
  • Starute,Datasonde - . Nation: USA. Agency: MRN. Apogee: 55 km (34 mi).

1973 October 17 - . 21:03 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Aries. LV Configuration: Aries NRL NB24.265.
  • Dummy payload test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 270 km (160 mi).

1985 October 9 - . 03:00 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Rocketsonde. LV Configuration: AN/DMQ-9.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: MRN. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1985 October 9 - . 03:25 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Rocketsonde. LV Configuration: AN/DMQ-9.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: MRN. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi).

1985 October 9 - . 04:35 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Rocketsonde.
  • Arcasonde - . Nation: USA. Agency: MRN. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

1989 July 20 - . 19:39 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Super Loki.
  • ROCOZ-A 356 STOIC - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

1989 July 24 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Super Loki.
  • ROCOZ-A 357 STOIC - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

1989 July 26 - . 20:53 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Super Loki.
  • ROCOZ-A 358 STOIC - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

1989 July 27 - . 18:49 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Super Loki.
  • ROCOZ-A 359 STOIC - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

1989 July 28 - . 18:27 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Super Loki.
  • ROCOZ-A 360 STOIC - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

1989 August 2 - . 17:38 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. Launch Vehicle: Super Loki.
  • ROCOZ-A 361 STOIC - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).

2004 July 29 - . 17:25 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Arrow. Launch Vehicle: Arrow 2. LV Configuration: Arrow 2 F12.
  • USFT-1 ATBM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

2004 August 26 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Arrow. Launch Vehicle: Arrow 2. LV Configuration: Arrow 2 F13.
  • USFT-2 ATBM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

2009 March 26 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Configuration: Aegis SM-2 target.
  • SRT - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

2009 June 6 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier Lynx.
  • ABL Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: Target.

2009 June 13 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Terrier. Launch Vehicle: Terrier Lynx.
  • ABL Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: Target.

2009 August 11 - . 04:50 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 9.
  • NASA 36.229DR - . Mass: 150 kg (330 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Summary: ABM target.

2010 January 10 - . 23:00 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 9.
  • MARTI/36.247DR - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: Target.

2010 February 3 - . 04:30 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 9.
  • ABL shoots down Black Brant target. - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi). First test of the Airborne Laser against a ballistic rocket in flight. The Terrier Black Brant unguided sounding rocket was destroyed in flight off California. This target was used as a low-cost vehicle representative of foreign solid-propellant short-range missiles.

2010 February 12 - . 04:44 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 9.
  • ABL fails to shoot down second target on same mission. - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi). Summary: First attempt to engage a second missile in a single mission by the Airborne Laser. A beam misalignment prompted a safe shutdown of the laser system earlier than planned and the Terrier Black Brant unguided sounding rocket was not destroyed..

2010 May 3 - . 09:47 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 9. LV Configuration: Black Brant IX NASA 36.248DR.
  • MARTI ABL Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 150 km (90 mi).

2010 October 21 - . 17:00 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Black Brant. Launch Vehicle: Black Brant 9.
  • NASA 36.230DR - . Nation: USA. Agency: MDA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Summary: ABM target..

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