Encyclopedia Astronautica
Smith Ranch Lake DZ


Air-launched rocket drop zone known to have been used for 10 launches from 1963 to 1968, reaching up to 107 kilometers altitude.

Longitude: -117.4937 deg.
Latitude: 39.3135 deg.

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Associated Launch Sites

Smith Ranch Lake DZ Chronology


1963 July 19 - . 18:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-21-32.
  • X-15A VO,UVP,IR,HS,Balloon Test/Technology/Ultraviolet Astronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 106 km (65 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5969 kph. Maximum Altitude - 106010 m. Astronaut wings flight. 80 cm diameter balloon dragged on 30 m line to measure air density. First X-15 astronaut flight (FAI definition); fourth astronaut wings flight (USAF definition)..

1963 August 22 - . 18:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-22-36.
  • X-15A VO,Spectrom,Photom Test/Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 107 km (66 mi). Summary: Unofficial world altitude record. Maximum Speed - 6105 kph. Maximum Altitude - 107960 m. Second X-15 astronaut flight (FAI definition); fifth astronaut wings flight (USAF definition)..

1966 September 8 - . 18:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-68-113. FAILURE: Emergency landing at Smith Ranch..
  • X-15A HS/Elec loads test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 22 km (13 mi). Summary: Premature engine shutdown at 38 sec. Maximum Speed - 2578 kph. Maximum Altitude - 22310 m..

1966 November 1 - . 21:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-56-83.
  • X-15A MuMet/DCR/SB Meteorological/Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 93 km (57 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6034 kph. Maximum Altitude - 93540 m. Astronaut wings flight (USAF definition)..

1967 June 29 - . 18:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-73-126. FAILURE: Loss of both APU's and all electrical power..
  • X-15A WTR/HS/ASAS Test/Technology mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 52 km (32 mi). Summary: Electrical failure while climbing through 32610 m; lost engine at 69 seconds; landed at Mud Lake with no flaps; Knight injured while exiting aircraft. Maximum Speed - 4618 kph. Maximum Altitude - 52730 m..

1967 October 4 - . 17:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-63-94.
  • X-15A UV Plume/Solar/MM Technology/Meteor/Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 76 km (47 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 7270 kph. Maximum Altitude - 76530 m..

1967 October 17 - . 16:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 3-64-95.
  • X-15A UVPL/Solar/MM Technology/Meteor/Solar mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 85 km (52 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 6204 kph. Maximum Altitude - 85500 m. Astronaut wings flight (USAF definition)..

1968 June 12 - . 15:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 008. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-77-136.
  • X-15A WTR/SA TPS/HS/FAB Test/Technology mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 67 km (41 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5733 kph. Maximum Altitude - 67090 m..

1968 September 13 - . 18:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-80-140.
  • X-15A WTR/HS/SB/FAB/FP Test/Technology/Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 77 km (47 mi). Summary: Maximum Speed - 5990 kph. Maximum Altitude - 77450 m..

1968 October 24 - . 17:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Smith Ranch Lake DZ. Launch Pad: 39.3 N x 117.5 W. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 1-81-141.
  • X-15A WTR/HS/FAB/FP Test/Technology/Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 77 km (47 mi). Summary: Last flight. Maximum Speed - 5979 kph. Maximum Altitude - 77720 m..

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