Encyclopedia Astronautica
Aerobee 150-2


Nitric acid/Aniline propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 700/133 kg. Thrust 17.80 kN.

AKA: Aerobee.
Status: Retired 1985.
Gross mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 133 kg (293 lb).
Height: 5.10 m (16.70 ft).
Diameter: 0.38 m (1.24 ft).
Thrust: 17.80 kN (4,002 lbf).
Burn time: 51 s.
Number: 717 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • AJ11-6 Aerojet Nitric acid/aniline rocket engine. 17.8 kN. Typical ideal dV=3839 m/s; gravity and drag losses = 1012 m/s. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Aerobee American sounding rocket. In late 1945 James Van Allen was assigned by John Hopkins University to survey sounding rocket requirements for upper atmosphere research. The V-2 was found to be too heavy and complex. In 1946 Van Allen decided that what was needed was a small rocket, derived from the Aerojet Wac Corporal and the Bumblebee missile developed under a US Navy program. This combination of an Aerojet booster and a Bumblebee second stage was dubbed the Aerobee. Aerobees were launched for 53 m tall launch towers to provide the necessary stability until enough speed had been gained for the fins to be effective in controlling the rocket. Launch towers were built at White Sands, Fort Churchill, Wallops Island, and aboard the research ship USN Norton Sound. The Aerobee could take 68 kg to 130 km altitude. More...
  • Aerobee Hi American sounding rocket. Aerobee Hi was a development of the basic Aerobee with longer propellant tanks, improved materials, a better propellant fraction, and smaller fins. 9.3 m l x 0.39 m dia. The booster stage fired for 2.5 seconds and took the rocket to 270 m altitude and 820 kph. The upper stage then fired for 25 seconds, burning out at 40 km altitude travelling at 6400 kph. Thereafter the payload would coast up to 270 km altitude before falling back toward earth. More...
  • Aerobee 300 American sounding rocket. The Aerobee 300, also called the Sparrowbee, consisted of an Aerobee 150 or Aerobee 180 lower stage with a 20 cm diameter Sparrow rocket as an upper stage. The Sparrow would ignite at 35 km altitude at 53 seconds into the flight, and boost the payload to 10,000 kph, allowing it to coast up to 420 km apogee. The rocket was designed for studies of the sun above the atmosphere and was only fired from Fort Churchill (the White Sands range was too small to cover the possible impact points of the high-altitude rocket). More...
  • Aerobee 150 American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Aerobee Booster + 1 x Aerobee 150. More...
  • Aerobee 300A American sounding rocket. Aerobee 300A used a four-fin Aerobee 150A second stage rather than the older three-fin 150. More...
  • Aerobee 170 American sounding rocket. Two stage sounding rocket consisting of a solid Nike booster paired with an Aerobee 150 liquid-propellant second stage. More...
  • Aerobee 170B American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Nike + 1 x Aerobee 150 More...
  • Aerobee 170A American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Nike + 1 x Aerobee 150 More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Aerojet American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Aerojet, Sacramento, CA, USA. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nitric acid/Amine Drawing on the German World War II Wasserfall rocket, nitric acid (HNO3) became the early storable oxidiser of choice for missiles and upper stages of the 1950's. To overcome various problems with its use, it was necessary to combine the nitric acid with N2O4 and passivation compounds. These formulae were considered extremely secret at the time. By the late 1950's it was apparent that N2O4 by itself was a better oxidiser. Therefore nitric acid was almost entirely replaced by pure N2O4 in storable liquid fuel rocket engines developed after 1960. Early storable rocket systems sought to improve ignition characteristics and perforamance by eliminating the kerosene portion of the fuel. An amine is an organic compound produced when one or more hydrogen atoms of ammonia is replaced with organic groups. Mixed amine fuels were first developed by the Germans in World War II. TONKA-250, developed for the Wasserfall rocket, was used by the Russians after the war in various engines under the specification TG-02. More...

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