Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

Location: San Clemente Island, Pacific Missile Range, California.
Longitude: -118.4870 deg.
Latitude: 32.9177 deg.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Polaris Probably the most technically innovative program in history, Polaris integrated solid-propellant, inertially-guided intermediate range ballistic missiles with nuclear submarines that could remain submerged for months at a time. All of these were new technologies, but the first ship was underway only three years after go-ahead. More...
  • X-17 USAF X-17 flight test program at Cape Canaveral studied reentry problems by simulating reentry velocities and conditions with a three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17. A total of 26 X-17 flights were conducted until March 1957. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • X-17 American test vehicle. USAF X-17 flight test program at Cape Canaveral studied reentry problems by simulating reentry velocities and conditions with a three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17. A total of 26 X-17 flights were conducted until March 1957. More...
  • Polaris TV American missile. Single stage test vehicle to test thrust-vectoring system. More...
  • Polaris A1 American missile. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x A1P + 1 x A1P stage 2 More...
  • 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 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.

Associated Launch Sites

San Clemente Chronology


1958 March 23 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris TV.
  • Popup test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1958 April 11 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris TV.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1958 July 1 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1958 July 1 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 3. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1958 July 2 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 1.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 560 km (340 mi).

1958 July 24 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 4.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 672 km (417 mi).

1960 April 14 - . 22:21 GMT - . Launch Site: San Clemente. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1X.
  • Underwater test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1960 June 30 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1. LV Configuration: Polaris A1X.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi).

1960 August 24 - . 20:43 GMT - . Launch Site: San Clemente. LV Family: Polaris. Launch Vehicle: Polaris A1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 2.00 km (1.20 mi).

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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