Encyclopedia Astronautica
San Clemente E


Dolphin launch complex.

Longitude: -118.4870 deg.
Latitude: 32.9177 deg.
First Launch: 1984.08.03.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Dolphin American sea-launched test vehicle. The Dolphin hybrid rocket (solid fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer) was built by Starstruck (formerly ARC Technology), a predecessor to AMROC. The Dolphin included not only innovative propulsion technology but was also launched from a floating launch cannister at sea. One test article of the hybrid was successfully launched in the summer of 1984. But the project was backed entirely with private funds and when backing for further development was not forthcoming, the project folded. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • San Clemente Military facility on the California Channel Islands, used for rocket launches in support of other missile tests from Vandenberg or Point Mugu. In use from 1957. Known to have been used for 10 launches from 1958 to 1984, reaching up to 672 kilometers altitude. Later plans were made for an off-shore launch platform here for the Starstruck vehicle. More...

San Clemente E Chronology


1984 February 6 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Complex: San Clemente E. Launch Vehicle: Dolphin. FAILURE: Nitrogen gas fittings had been loosened during transport. Attempts to grind an access hole to an internal bay of the rocket to tighten the fittings resulted in a fire in the electronics..
  • Dolphin hybrid rocket sea-launch abort. - . Nation: USA. Agency: Starstruck. Summary: The Dolphin included not only innovative hybrid propulsion technology but was also launched from a floating launch cannister at sea. This was the first attempted test of the sea-launch system, although the launch itself was aborted..

1984 March 30 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Complex: San Clemente E. Launch Vehicle: Dolphin. FAILURE: Seawater seeped into the electronics bay, creating a short..
  • Dolphin hybrid rocket sea-launch abort. - . Nation: USA. Agency: Starstruck. Summary: This was the second attempted use of the sea-launch system - the launch itself was aborted..

1984 August 3 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Complex: San Clemente E. Launch Vehicle: Dolphin. FAILURE: Thrust vector control failure led to vehicle swerving off course at T+14 seconds.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: Starstruck. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). The vehicle was supposed to reach an altitude of 2400 m but only made it to 700 m due to a stuck thrust vector control valve that resulted in a 45 degree deviation from vertical fligh. The errant vehicle was shut down by command from the support ship at T+14 sec. After this attempt, the project, backed entirely with private funds, folded.

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