Spaceflight before 1951

Summary

Spaceflight before 1951
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1978-Anh.026-01, Peenemünde, V2 beim Start.jpg
Launch of a V-2 from Peenemünde.
National firsts
Spaceflight Germany (1944)
 United States (1946)
 Soviet Union (1948)
Rockets
Maiden flightsNazi Germany V-2
United StatesWAC Corporal
United StatesViking (first model)
United StatesBumper
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-10
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1
Soviet UnionR-1
Soviet UnionR-1A
Soviet UnionR-2
RetirementsUnited StatesAerobee RTV-N-8
United StatesBumper
Soviet UnionR-1A

Spaceflight as a practical endeavor began during World War II with the development of operational liquid-fueled rockets. Beginning life as a weapon, the V-2 was impressed into peaceful service after the war at the United States' White Sands Missile Range as well as the Soviet Union's Kapustin Yar. This led to a flourishing of missile designs setting the stage for the exploration of space. The small American WAC Corporal rocket was evolved into the Aerobee, a much more powerful sounding rocket. Exploration of space began in earnest in 1947 with the flight of the first Aerobee, 46 of which had flown by the end of 1950. These and other rockets, both Soviet and American, returned the first direct data on air density, temperature, charged particles and magnetic fields in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

By 1948, the United States Navy had evolved the V-2 design into the Viking capable of more than 100 miles (160 km) in altitude. The first Viking to accomplish this feat, number four, did so 10 May 1950. The Soviet Union developed a virtual copy of the V-2 called the R-1, which first flew in 1948. Its longer-ranged successor, the R-2, entered military service in 1950. This event marked the entry of both superpowers into the post-V-2 rocketry era.

Origins and rocket development

The era of spaceflight began in 1942 with the development of the V-2 rocket (A-4) as a ballistic missile by Germany, the first vehicle capable of reaching the 100 kilometres (62 mi) boundary of space (as defined by the World Air Sports Federation).[1] On 20 June 1944, a V-2 (MW 18014) was launched vertically, reaching a height of 174.6 kilometres (108.5 mi).[2]

The post-war years saw rapid development in rocket technology by both superpowers, jumpstarted by the dozens of V-2s and hundreds of German specialists that ended up in the custody of the Soviet Union and the United States.[3]:216–7[4]:226[5]:43 The V-2, designed for carrying a warhead horizontally rather than vertical science missions, made an inefficient sounding rocket, while the wartime American WAC Corporal sounding rocket was too small to carry much scientific equipment.[4]:250 In 1946, the US Navy began development of its own heavy sounding rocket, the Viking, derived in part from the V-2.[6]:21–25[6]:236 The Aerobee was developed from the WAC Corporal to loft lighter payloads.[4]:250–1

The Soviet Union began military development of the R-1, a copy of the V-2 with modifications intended to improve reliability, in 1947.[5]:41, 48 Flight testing of this first Soviet-made liquid-fueled missile began on 13 September 1948,[5]:129 and the rocket entered military service in 1950.[5]:135 Also from 1947, two advanced rockets with ranges of 600 kilometres (370 mi), the German émigré-designed G-1 (or R-10) and the Russian-designed R-2, competed for limited engineering and production staff, the latter winning out by the end of 1949[5]:65 and being put into service in 1951.[5]:274 The draft plan for the 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) range R-3 was approved on 7 December 1949,[5]:67 though it was never developed, later designs proving more useful and achievable.[5]:275–6

Space Exploration

V-2, WAC Corporal, and R-1A

Aerobee launch at sea
Aerobee launch at sea

The V-2s captured from Germany at the end of World War II were used for engineering and scientific missions by the United States and the Soviet Union. The first 25 captured V-2s were launched in the 15 months commencing 15 March 1946.[4]:398 By the end of 1950, more than 60 had been launched by the Americans, most of them equipped with research instruments.[7]:6 The first biological payloads launched to high altitude were sent on V-2s, starting with seeds and fruit flies in 1947, followed by mice and monkeys from 1948 onward.[8]

The V-2 was also used in early experiments with two-stage rockets: Project Bumper combined the V-2 first stage with the WAC Corporal as second stage. On 24 February 1949, Bumper 5 set an altitude record of 417 kilometres (259 mi).[4]:257–8 Around 10 WAC Corporals were also launched on their own in this period.[7]:6

The Soviet Union launched 11 captured V-2s in 1947.[5]:41 Three of the V-2s launched by the USSR in 1947 carried 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) experiment packages for measuring cosmic rays at high altitude; at least one returned usable data.[9]:56 Two Soviet R-1As (an experimental R-1 variant that tested nose cone separation at altitude) also carried scientific equipment during test launches in 1949, but neither returned usable data.[10]

Aerobee

First launched on 24 November 1947, the solid/liquid-fuel hybrid Aerobee quickly secured a reputation for reliability. With the development of these first generation purpose-built sounding rockets, the exploration of Earth's upper atmosphere and the nearest reaches of space began in earnest, a total of 46 Aerobee flights being launched through 1950.[11] Aerobee flights measured the velocity and density of cosmic rays above 70 miles (110 km) and made high altitude measurements of the Earth's magnetic field. Cameras mounted on Aerobee rockets returned the first high quality aerial photographs of sizeable regions of the Earth as well as large scale cloud formations.[4]:251

Viking

Launch of Viking 4
Launch of Viking 4

Vikings 1 and 2, launched in 1949 from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, both suffered from premature engine cutoff due to turbine leaks, significantly reducing their maximum altitude.[6]:98–102 The improved Viking 3, launched 9 February 1950 reached 50 mi (80 km) and could have gone higher. However, after 34 seconds of accurately guided flight, the rocket veered westward and had to be destroyed by range safety.[6]:108–114

On 10 May 1950, from a site in the Pacific Ocean between Jarvis Island and Christmas Island, the fourth Viking became the first sounding rocket ever launched from a sea-going vessel, the USS Norton Sound. This flight was perfect, reaching 106.4 mi (171.2 km), more than double that reached by the earlier Vikings.[6]:108–114

Viking 5, launched 21 November 1950 carried a vast array of radiation detectors. The rocket also carried two movie cameras to take high altitude film of the Earth all the way to its peak height of 108 miles (174 km) as well as Pirani gauges to measure air densities in the upper atmosphere.[6]:148,236 Viking 6, launched 11 December, underperformed, reaching a maximum altitude of 40 miles (64 km).[6]:151–153,236

Launches

1942

1942 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
13 June — 12 December Nazi GermanyV-2 Nazi GermanyPeenemünde Nazi GermanyWehrmacht
Wehrmacht Suborbital Missile test Same day Mixed
7 V-2 rockets launched on test flights, 3 successfully[12]

1943

1943 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
7 January — 30 December Nazi GermanyV-2 Nazi GermanyPeenemünde, Heidelager Nazi GermanyWehrmacht
Wehrmacht Suborbital Missile test Same day Mixed
39 V-2 rockets launched on test flights; at least 9 failures[12]

1944

1944 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
20 June Nazi GermanyV-2 Nazi GermanyGreifswalder Oie Nazi GermanyWehrmacht
Nazi GermanyMW 18014[2] Wehrmacht Suborbital Missile test 20 June Successful
First artificial object to cross the Kármán line.
Vertical test, apogee: 174.6 kilometres (108.5 mi)
8 September Nazi GermanyV-2 Nazi GermanyHouffalize Nazi GermanyWehrmacht
Wehrmacht Suborbital Missile test Same day Successful
First combat usage of V-2 after more than a hundred test flights; ~3000 combat launches followed[12] (see List of V-2 test launches)

1945

1945 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
2 October Nazi GermanyV-2 Allied-occupied GermanyCuxhaven United KingdomUK military
Suborbital 2 October Successful
First launch of Operation Backfire; apogee: 69.4 kilometres (43.1 mi)[13]
4 October Nazi GermanyV-2 Allied-occupied GermanyCuxhaven United KingdomUK military
Suborbital 4 October Partial failure
apogee: 17.4 kilometres (10.8 mi) [13]
15 October Nazi GermanyV-2 Allied-occupied GermanyCuxhaven United KingdomUK military
Suborbital 14 October Successful
Press and international observers present; Apogee: 64 kilometres (40 mi)[13]

1946

1946 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
16 April
21:47
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite SandsLaunch Complex 33 United StatesGeneral Electric/U.S. Army
WSPG[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation (Applied Physics Laboratory)[15] 16 April Guidance failure[14]
First launch of Project Hermes, apogee: 8 kilometres (5.0 mi)
10 May
21:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
WSPG[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation (APL),[15] 10 May Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 112 kilometres (70 mi), First US spaceflight
29 May
21:12
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E.[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation (APL),[15] 29 May Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 112 kilometres (70 mi)
13 June
23:40
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E.[14] Suborbital Solar radiation, Ionosphere (Naval Radiation Laboratory)[15] 13 June Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 117 kilometres (73 mi)
28 June
19:25
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
Naval Radiation Laboratory[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Solar Radiation, Pressure, Temperature. Ionosphere[16]:336–337 (V-2 NO. 6) 28 June Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 108 kilometres (67 mi)
9 July
19:25
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E.[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Ionosphere (Naval Radiation Laboratory), Biological (Harvard University)[16]:338–339 (V-2 NO. 7) 9 July Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 134 kilometres (83 mi)
19 July
19:11
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E.[14] Suborbital Ionospheric (NRL)[15] 19 July Explosion at 28.5 seconds[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 5 kilometres (3.1 mi)
30 July
19:36
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
Applied Physics Laboratory[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Ionosphere (NRL)[16]:342–343 (V-2 NO. 9) 30 July Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 167 kilometres (104 mi)
15 August
18:00
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
Princeton University[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Ionosphere[16]:344 (V-2 NO. 10) 15 August Guidance Failure at 13.9 seconds[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 3 kilometres (1.9 mi)
22 August
17:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
University of Michigan,[14] Suborbital Pressure, Density, Ionosphere Aeronomy, Sky Brightness[15] 22 August Guidance Failure immediately after lift[14]
Project Hermes launch
10 October
18:02
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Ray, Ionosphere, Pressure-Temperature, Solar Spectroscopy, Ejection of Cosmic Ray Recording Camera[17] Selected seeds (Harvard), Cross jet attenuation transmitter & receiver[16]:346–347 (V-2 NO. 12) 10 October Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 164 kilometres (102 mi)
24 October
19:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL[14] Suborbital Cosmic & Solar radiation, winds, photography[15] 24 October Successful, Short burning time (59 sec)[18]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 105 kilometres (65 mi), First photo of Earth from space
7 November
20:31
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
Princeton University[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation,[15] 7 November Guidance Failure at 2 seconds, missile turned sideways, flew horizontal and was destroyed[16]:350 (V-2 NO. 14)
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 0.39 kilometres (0.24 mi)
21 November
16:55
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
Watson Laboratories, University of Michigan,[18] Suborbital Pressure, Temperature, Ionosphere, Sky Brightness,Voltage breakdown[16]:351–352 (V-2 NO. 15) 21 November Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 102 kilometres (63 mi)
5 December
20:08
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL [14] Suborbital Cosmic & Solar Radiation, Pressure, Temperature, Photography[15] 5 December Successful, Guidance Problems
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 167 kilometres (104 mi)
18 December
05:12
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesGRENADES APL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Meteor research, Biological (National Institute of Health),[15] 18 December Successful, extraordinary range due to guidance failure[16]:354 (V-2 NO. 16)
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 187 kilometres (116 mi); first night flight of V-2, released artificial meteors for photographic observation[19]

1947

1947 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
10 January
21:13
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite SandsLaunch Complex 33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation,[15] "Daughter Canister Release (Air Material Command)[16]:357–358 (V-2 NO. 18) 10 January Successful, Roll at 40 seconds[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 116 kilometres (72 mi)
24 January
00:22
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United States G.E.[14] Suborbital Test Guidance System,[14] Hermes A-2 Telemetry System Test[16]:359–360 (V-2 NO. 19) 24 January Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 49.88 kilometres (30.99 mi).
20 February
18:16
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom I Air Materiel Command[14] Suborbital Pressure-temperature (University of Michigan), Ionosphere (Air Force Cambridge Research Center, UoM), Sky brightness, Voltage Breakdown measurements (AFCRC), Biological rye, cotton seeds and fruit flies, first animals in space,[20] Blossom parachute recovery of canister (Cambridge Field Station)[16]:361–362 (V-2 NO. 20) 20 February Successful, Guidance disturbance at 27 sec, Roll at 37.5 sec[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 109 kilometres (68 mi).
7 March
18:23
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Pressure-temperature, Solar Radiation, Ionosphere (NRL), Biological rye, cotton seeds and fruit flies (Harvard)[16]:363–365 (V-2 NO. 21) 7 March Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 161 kilometres (100 mi).
1 April
20:10
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Solar Radiation (APL & Yerkes Observatory), High altitude photography (Gun Sight Aiming Point camera)[16]:366–367 (V-2 NO. 22) 1 April Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 129 kilometres (80 mi)
9 April
00:10
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Solar Radiation, High altitude photography.[16]:368–369 (V-23 NO. 20) 9 April Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 103 kilometres (64 mi)
17 April
23:22
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesGRENADES G.E.[14] Suborbital Pressure-Temperature: 9 Grenades (Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories)[16]:370–371 (V-2 NO. 24) 17 April Successful, Roll at 57.5 seconds[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 140 kilometres (87 mi)
15 May
23:08
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL[14] Suborbital Density-pressure-temperature grenades (SCEL), (Michigan University), Composition, Cosmic Radiation, Solar Radiation (NRL)[16]:374–375 (V-2 NO. 26) 15 May Successful, Steering trouble from lift[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 122 kilometres (76 mi)
29 May Nazi GermanyUnited StatesHermes B-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesHermes II G.E. Suborbital Missile test of ramjet diffusers called "Organ."[21] 29 May Missile went South instead of North, landed in Mexico[22]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 50 kilometres (31 mi), maiden flight of Hermes II, aka Hermes B-1
10 July
19:18
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL[14] Suborbital Density-pressure-temperature, Cosmic Radiation, Ionosphere, Simulant agent experiment - Camp Detrick, Indiana, seed containers in control chamber (Harvard College Observatory)[16]:363–364 (V-2 NO. 29) 10 July Launch failure, Steering trouble from lift[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 16 kilometres (9.9 mi)
29 July
12:55
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL[14] Suborbital Cosmic Radiation, Solar Radiation, High altitude photography (APL)[16]:386–387 (V-2 NO. 30) 29 July Successful, Vane #4 ceased to operate at 27 sec[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 159 kilometres (99 mi)
6 September Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesUSS Midway, Atlantic Ocean Launch Site 10 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Navy Suborbital Missile test 6 September Launch failure
Operation Sandy, first shipboard missile launch, apogee: 1 kilometre (0.62 mi)
9 October
19:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E.[14] Suborbital Density-pressure-temperature, Skin temperature, Composition (University of Michigan), Solar radiation (NRL)[16]:386–387 (V-2 NO. 30) 9 October Successful, Steering disturbance at 48.4 sec. Roll at 52 sec.[14]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 156 kilometres (97 mi)
18 October
07:47
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 28 October Partial failure
Apogee: 86 kilometres (53 mi); destroyed during ballistic portion of flight[23]
20 October
07:47
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 20 October Partial failure
Apogee: 85 kilometres (53 mi); tore loose from launch stand; flew 180 kilometres (110 mi) left of planned target[23]
23 October
14:05
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 23 October Launch failure
Apogee: 14 kilometres (8.7 mi); payload destroyed, rocket disintegrated[23]
28 October
14:05
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 28 October Successful
Apogee: 87 kilometres (54 mi)[23]
31 October
13:41
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 31 October Launch failure
Apogee: 0 kilometres (0 mi); loss of control on longitudinal axis[23]
2 November
15:14
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 2 November Successful
Apogee: 88 kilometres (55 mi)[23]
3 November
12:05
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 3 November Launch failure
Apogee: 0 kilometres (0 mi); rolled after launch and lost stabilization[23]
4 November
15:02
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 4 November Successful
Apogee: 89 kilometres (55 mi)[23]
10 November
09:39
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 10 November Launch failure
Apogee: 11 kilometres (6.8 mi); lost guidance[23]
13 November
08:30
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 13 November Successful
Apogee: 89 kilometres (55 mi)[23]
13 November
14:00
Nazi GermanyV-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 13 November Partial failure
Apogee: 89 kilometres (55 mi); broke up on re-entry[23]
20 November
23:47
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E.[14] Suborbital Technology development flight for GE.[24] 20 November Launch failure, Propulsion trouble at 36 sec.[14]
Apogee: 21 kilometres (13 mi)
24 November
17:20
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands Launch Complex 35 United StatesU.S. Navy
Applied Physics Laboratory[16]:Table I, 7.3 Suborbital 24 November Launch failure, off course, flight terminated.[25]
Apogee: 56 kilometres (35 mi)[11]
8 December
21:42
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom II AMC<[14] Suborbital Density-pressure-temperature (Michigan University), Skin temperature (Boston University), Solar soft X-rays,Vertical incidence ionosphere propagation, Oblique incidence ionosphere propagation, Aspect project (cameras to be lowered by parachute) (Wright Air Development Center), Sky brightness (AFCRC)[16]:379–382 (V-2 NO. 28) 8 December Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 105 kilometres (65 mi)

1948

1948 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
22 January
20:12
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite SandsLaunch Complex 33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL Suborbital 22 January Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 159 kilometres (99 mi)[12]
6 February
17:17
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E. Suborbital 6 February Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 113 kilometres (70 mi)[12]
5 March
22:51
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Chemical release 5 March Successful
Apogee: 118 kilometres (73 mi)[11]
19 March
23:10
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom IIA G.E. Suborbital 19 March Launch failure
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi)[12]
2 April
13:47
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
US Army Signal Corps Suborbital 2 April Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 144 kilometres (89 mi)[12]
13 April
21:41
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital 13 April Successful
Apogee: 114 kilometres (71 mi)[11]
19 April
19:54
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL Suborbital 19 April Guidance Failure
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 56 kilometres (35 mi)[12]
13 May
13:43
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesBumper United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 1 G.E. Suborbital 13 May Successful
Maiden flight of Bumper, apogee: 127.6 kilometres (79.3 mi)[26]
27 May
14:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL Suborbital 27 May Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 140 kilometres (87 mi)[12]
11 June
10:22
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
AMC Suborbital 11 June Launch failure, premature valve closure
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 63 kilometres (39 mi)[12]
26 July
16:47
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital 26 July Successful
Apogee: 113 kilometres (70 mi)[11]
26 July
18:03
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL Suborbital 26 July Successful, Propulsion issues at 45.2s
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 97 kilometres (60 mi)[12]
5 August
12:07
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL Suborbital UV Astronomy
Solar X-ray
5 August Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 167 kilometres (104 mi)[12]
6 August
1:37
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Aeronomy/solar UV 6 August Successful
Apogee: 96.6 kilometres (60.0 mi)[11]
19 August
14:45
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesBumper United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 2 G.E. Suborbital 19 August Launch failure
Apogee: 13.1 kilometres (8.1 mi)[26]
3 September
01:00
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesGRENADES USASC Suborbital 3 September Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 151 kilometres (94 mi)[12]
17 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 17 September Launch failure[27]
maiden flight of R-1[27]
30 September
15:30
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesBumper United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 3 G.E. Suborbital 30 September 2nd Stage Failure
Apogee: 150.6 kilometres (93.6 mi)[26]
10 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 10 October Successful[27]
11 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test, sounding rocket 11 October Successful
First Soviet spaceflight with scientific experiments[27]
13 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 13 October Successful[27]
21 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 21 October Successful[27]
23 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 23 October Successful[27]
1 November
14:24
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesBumper United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army[26]
United StatesBumper 4 G.E. Suborbital 1 November Tail explosion at 28.5s
Apogee: 5 kilometres (3.1 mi)
1 November Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 1 November Successful[27]
2 November
00:12
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Cosmic radiation, solar radiation and particles 2 November Successful
Apogee: 91 kilometres (57 mi)[11]
3 November Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 3 November Successful[27]
4 November Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 4 November Successful[27]
5 November Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 5 November Successful
last of nine launches in the first test series[27]
18 November
22:35
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E. Suborbital Ramjet research 18 November Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 145 kilometres (90 mi)[12]
9 December
16:08
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
USASC Suborbital 9 December Successful
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 108 kilometres (67 mi)[12]
9 December
22:38
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Aeronomy 9 December Successful
Apogee: 91 kilometres (57 mi)[11]

1949

1949 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
14 January
20:26
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesHermes B-1 United StatesWhite SandsLaunch Complex 33 United StatesU.S. Army
United StatesHermes II U.S. Army Suborbital Missile test 14 January Launch failure
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 1 kilometre (0.62 mi)[28]
28 January
17:20
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL Suborbital Solar x-ray / ionosphere / aeronomy / biology 28 January Launch failure
Blossom launch, apogee: 60 kilometres (37 mi)[28]
29 January
06:17
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Radiation, ionospheric 29 January Successful
Apogee: 96.6 kilometres (60.0 mi)[11]
1 February
18:38
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Solar UV and X-Ray 1 February Launch failure
Apogee: 0 kilometres (0 mi)[11]
17 February
17:00
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
APL Suborbital 17 February Successful
Apogee: 100.8 kilometres (62.6 mi)[28]
24 February
22:14
United StatesBumper United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 5 G.E. Suborbital 24 February Successful
Apogee: 393 kilometres (244 mi). The new altitude record.[26]
2 March
00:15
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Test for shipboard launch; dummy payload 2 March Launch failure
Apogee: 0 kilometres (0 mi)[11]
17 March
23:20
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesUSS Norton Sound, PO-22 LP-1 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Ionospheric 17 March Successful
Apogee: 105 kilometres (65 mi)[11]
22 March
06:43
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom IVA AMC Suborbital Ionospheric 22 March Successful
Blossom IVA; apogee: 129 kilometres (80 mi)[28]
22 March
17:20
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesUSS Norton Sound, PO-22 LP-1 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Ionospheric 22 March Successful
Apogee: 105 kilometres (65 mi)[11]
24 March
15:14
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesUSS Norton Sound, PO-22 LP-1 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Ionospheric 24 March Launch failure
Apogee: 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), pressure valve malfunction, booster separated on ignition[11]
11 April
22:05
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
USASC Suborbital 11 April Successful
Apogee: 85 kilometres (53 mi)[28]
22 April
00:17
United StatesBumper United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 6 G.E. Suborbital 22 April Launch failure
Apogee: 50 kilometres (31 mi)[26]
3 May United StatesViking (first model) United StatesWhite Sands Army Launch Area 1 United StatesU.S. Navy
United StatesViking 1 NRL Suborbital Aeronomy
Imaging
3 May Partial launch failure
Apogee: 83 kilometres (52 mi)[6]:236[29]
5 May
15:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
G.E. Suborbital 5 May Launch failure
Apogee: 8.9 kilometres (5.5 mi)[28]
7 May
03:12
Soviet UnionR-1A Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 7 May Successful
Apogee: 109 kilometres (68 mi), maiden flight of R-1A[10]
10 May
15:57
Soviet UnionR-1A Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 10 May Successful[10]
15 May
02:48
Soviet UnionR-1A Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 15 May Successful
Tested separable warhead[10]
16 May
21:55
Soviet UnionR-1A Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 16 May Successful
Tested separable warhead[10]
24 May
01:40
Soviet UnionR-1A Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
Soviet UnionFIAR-1 NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test/aeronomy 24 May Partial Failure
Apogee: 32.9 kilometres (20.4 mi); vertical flight, tested separable warhead, carried aeronomy experiments that were not recovered[10]
28 May
01:50
Soviet UnionR-1A Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 28 May Partial Failure
Apogee: 31.9 kilometres (19.8 mi); Final R1-A flight -- vertical flight, tested separable warhead, carried aeronomy experiments damaged on landing and returned no usable data[10]
2 June
13:10
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Aeronomy 2 June Successful
Apogee: 78.4 kilometres (48.7 mi)[11]
14 June
22:35
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom IVB AMC Suborbital Biological, Atmospheric 14 June Successful
Apogee: 133.9 kilometres (83.2 mi), carried Albert II, first monkey in space[20][30][28]
15 June
02:03
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands United StatesU.S. Navy
NRL Suborbital Ozone research 15 June Successful
Apogee: 109 kilometres (68 mi)[11]
17 June
02:03
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands United StatesU.S. Navy
NRL Suborbital classified mission 17 June Successful
Apogee: 88 kilometres (55 mi)[11]
23 June
23:21
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite Sands United StatesU.S. Navy
NRL Suborbital Solar, aeronomy 23 June Successful
Apogee: 88 kilometres (55 mi)[11]
21 July
16:01
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Aeronomy 21 July Successful
Apogee: 76.1 kilometres (47.3 mi)[11]
6 September
16:57
United StatesViking (first model) United StatesWhite Sands Army Launch Area 1 United StatesU.S. Navy
United StatesViking 2 NRL Suborbital Aeronomy
Imaging
6 September Launch failure
Apogee: 57 kilometres (35 mi)[6]:236[29]
10 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 10 September
First flight of second series of tests[27]
11 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 11 September Successful[27]
13 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 13 September Successful[27]
14 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 14 September Successful[27]
16 September
23:19
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom IVC AMC Suborbital Biological 16 September Launch failure
Apogee: 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), carried Albert III[28]
17 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 17 September Successful[27]
19 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 19 September Successful[27]
20 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 20 September Launch failure[27]
20 September
17:03
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Aeronomy 20 September Successful
Apogee: 58.6 kilometres (36.4 mi)[11]
23 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 23 September Launch failure[27]
25 September
11:16
Soviet UnionR-2E Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 25 September Successful
Maiden flight of R-2E -- a modified R-1 missile to test R-2 concepts: integral fuel tank and separable warhead[31]
28 September Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 28 September Successful[27]
29 September
16:58
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL Suborbital 29 September Successful
Apogee: 151.1 kilometres (93.9 mi)[28]
30 September
11:49
Soviet UnionR-2E Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 30 September Successful
[31]
2 October
11:00
Soviet UnionR-2E Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 2 October Partial failure
Fire in tail compartment[31]
3 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 3 October Successful[27]
6 October Nazi GermanyHermes B-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesU.S. Army
United StatesHermes II U.S. Army Suborbital Missile test 6 October Launch failure
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 4 kilometres (2.5 mi)[28]
8 October
06:05
Soviet UnionR-2E Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 8 October Successful[31]
8 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 8 October Successful[27]
10 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 10 October Successful[27]
11 October
12:45
Soviet UnionR-2E Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 11 October Partial failure
Fire in tail compartment, last of five R-2E launches[31]
12 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 12 October Successful[27]
13 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 13 October Successful[27]
14 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 14 October Launch failure[27]
15 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 15 October Successful[27]
18 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 18 October Successful[27]
19 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 19 October Successful[27]
22 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 22 October Successful[27]
23 October Soviet UnionR-1 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionNII-88 Section 3
NII-88 Section 3 Suborbital Missile test 23 October Successful[27]
Last of second series of twenty firings
18 November
16:03
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesGRENADES USASC Suborbital 18 November Successful
Apogee: 124.2 kilometres (77.2 mi)[28]
2 December
22:20
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital Solar, imaging, aeronomy 2 December Successful
Apogee: 96 kilometres (60 mi)[11]
6 December
18:32
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Army
U.S. Army Suborbital Air sampling aeronomy mission 6 December Successful
Apogee: 64.9 kilometres (40.3 mi)[11]
7 December
00:16
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Army
U.S. Army Suborbital Air sampling aeronomy mission 7 December Successful
Apogee: 60 kilometres (37 mi)[11]
8 December
19:15
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom IVD AMC Suborbital Biological 8 December Successful
Apogee: 127 kilometres (79 mi), carried Albert IV[28]
15 December
17:10
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
APL Suborbital Solar, imaging, aeronomy 15 December Launch failure
Apogee: 0 kilometres (0 mi)[11]

1950

1950 launches
Date and time (UTC) Rocket Flight number Launch site LSP
Payload Operator Orbit Function Decay (UTC) Outcome
Remarks
15 January
23:45
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-10 United StatesBering Sea United StatesU.S. Navy
Applied Physics Laboratory Suborbital Particle physics 15 January Successful
Ship-launched; Apogee: 72 kilometres (45 mi)[11]
18 January
23:17
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-10 United StatesBering Sea United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Particle physics 18 January Successful
Ship-launched; Apogee: 80 kilometres (50 mi)[11]
9 February
21:44
United StatesViking (first model) United StatesWhite Sands Army Launch Area 1 United StatesU.S. Navy
United StatesViking 3 NRL Suborbital Solar
Imaging
9 February Launch failure
Veered off-course, failed to reach space, apogee: 80.5 kilometres (50.0 mi)[6]:236[29]
14 February
23:14
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-8 United StatesWhite SandsLaunch Complex 33 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Cosmic gamma Ionosphere mission 14 February Successful
Apogee: 87.6 kilometres (54.4 mi)[11]
17 February
18:00
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
NRL Suborbital 17 February Successful
Apogee: 148 kilometres (92 mi)[28]
22 February
00:54
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Army
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 22 February Successful
Apogee: 87.6 kilometres (54.4 mi)[11]
4 March
00:36
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Army
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 4 March Successful
Apogee: 72.4 kilometres (45.0 mi)[11]
14 March
20:43
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital Solar radiation 14 March Launch failure
Apogee: 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi)[11]
26 April
01:11
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Atmospheric 26 April Successful
Apogee: 99.5 kilometres (61.8 mi)[11]
12 May
03:08
United StatesViking (first model) United StatesUSS Norton Sound, PO-8 United StatesU.S. Navy
United StatesViking 4 U.S. Navy Suborbital Ionospheric
Aeronomy
12 May Successful
Apogee: 171 kilometres (106 mi)[6]:236[29]
12 May
12:30
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-10 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Particle physics 12 May Successful
Ship-launched; Apogee: 88.1 kilometres (54.7 mi)[11]
26 May
19:43
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital Solar radiation 26 May Successful
Apogee: 67.6 kilometres (42.0 mi)[11]
2 June
17:07
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital Solar radiation 2 June Successful
Apogee: 67.6 kilometres (42.0 mi)[11]
20 June
15:38
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital aeronomy 20 June Successful
Apogee: 92.6 kilometres (57.5 mi)[11]
14 July
08:39
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Army
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 14 July Successful
Apogee: 69.2 kilometres (43.0 mi)[11]
24 July
14:29
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesBumper United StatesCape Canaveral Launch Complex 3 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 8 G.E. Suborbital Test 24 July Launch failure
First missile launch from Cape Canaveral; apogee: 20 kilometres (12 mi)[26]
29 July
11:25
Nazi GermanyUnited StatesBumper United StatesCape Canaveral Launch Complex 3 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBumper 8 G.E. Suborbital Test 29 July Launch failure
Apogee: 50 kilometres (31 mi)[26]
17 August
15:45
United StatesAerobee RTV-N-10 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
APL Suborbital Spectrometry 17 August Successful
Apogee: 101 kilometres (63 mi)[11]
31 August
17:09
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
United StatesBlossom IVG AMC Suborbital Biological 31 August Successful
Apogee: 137 kilometres (85 mi), carried a mouse[28]
1 October Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 October Partial failure
maiden flight of R-2 prototype missile; missed target[32]
1 October Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 October Partial failure
missed target[32]
12 October
19:36
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital Photography 12 October Successful
Apogee: 91.3 kilometres (56.7 mi)[11]
17 October
04:00
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 17 October Successful
Apogee: 80.5 kilometres (50.0 mi)[11]
18 October
04:30
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 18 October Successful
Apogee: 85 kilometres (53 mi)[11]
21 October Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 21 October Partial Failure
missed target[32]
26 October
23:02
Nazi GermanyV-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesG.E./U.S. Army
Ballistic Research Laboratory Suborbital 26 October Launch failure
Apogee: 8.1 kilometres (5.0 mi)[28]
27 October
13:30
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 27 October Successful
Apogee: 80.2 kilometres (49.8 mi)[11]
1 November Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 November Partial failure
Missed target[32]
1 November Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 November Partial failure
Missed target[32]
1 November Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 November Partial failure
Missed target[32]
1 November Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 November Partial failure
Missed target[32]
1 November Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 November Partial failure
missed target[32]
2 November
16:29
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesU.S.A.F.
U.S.A.F. Suborbital Air glow research 2 November Successful
Apogee: 91.8 kilometres (57.0 mi)[11]
9 November Nazi GermanyUnited StatesHermes B-1 United StatesWhite Sands LC-33 United StatesU.S. Army
United StatesHermes II U.S. Army Suborbital Missile test 9 November Partial Success[33]
Project Hermes launch, apogee: 150 kilometres (93 mi)Apogee: 80.2 kilometres (49.8 mi)
21 November
17:18
United StatesViking (first model) United StatesWhite Sands Army Launch Area 1 United StatesU.S. Navy
United StatesViking 5 NRL Suborbital Solar
Ionospheric
21 November Successful
Apogee: 174 kilometres (108 mi)[6]:236[29]
1 December Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 December Partial failure
Missed target[32]
1 December Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 December Partial failure
Missed target[32]
1 December Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 1 December Partial failure
Missed target[32]
11 December
17:04
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 11 December Successful
Apogee: 83.9 kilometres (52.1 mi)[11]
12 December
04:06
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 12 December Successful
Apogee: 84 kilometres (52 mi)[11]
12 December
07:04
United StatesViking (first model) United StatesWhite Sands Army Launch Area 1 United StatesU.S. Navy
United StatesViking 6 U.S. Navy Suborbital 12 December Launch failure
Apogee: 64 kilometres (40 mi)[6]:236[29]
12 December
09:10
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 12 December Successful
Apogee: 77 kilometres (48 mi)[11]
12 December
18:26
United StatesAerobee RTV-A-1 United StatesHolloman AFB Launch Complex A United StatesARDC
ARDC Suborbital 12 December Successful
Apogee: 106 kilometres (66 mi)[11]
19 December
18:52
United StatesAerobee XASR-SC-2 United StatesWhite Sands LC-35 United StatesU.S. Navy
U.S. Army Suborbital Aeronomy 19 December Successful
Apogee: 81.9 kilometres (50.9 mi)[11]
20 December Soviet UnionR-2 Soviet UnionKapustin Yar Soviet UnionOKB-1
OKB-1 Suborbital Missile test 20 December Partial failure
Final flight of 12 mission prototype series; missed target[32]

Suborbital launch summary (1945-1950)

By country

United Kingdom: 3Soviet Union: 63USA: 132Circle frame.svg
  •   United Kingdom: 3
  •   Soviet Union: 63
  •   USA: 132
Launches by country
Country Launches Successes Failures Partial
failures
 United Kingdom 3 2 0 1
 Soviet Union 63 36 8 9
 United States 132 82 34 16

By rocket

Launches by rocket
Rocket Country Launches Successes Failures Partial failures Remarks
V-2  United States 72 37 20 15 Maiden flight
Bumper  United States 8 2 6 0 Maiden flight
Viking (first model)  United States 6 2 3 1 Maiden flight
Aerobee RTV-N-8  United States 17 14 3 0 Maiden flight, retired
Aerobee RTV-N-10  United States 4 4 0 0 Maiden flight
Aerobee XASR-SC-1  United States 8 8 0 0 Maiden flight
Aerobee XASR-SC-2  United States 8 8 0 0 Maiden flight
Aerobee RTV-A-1  United States 9 7 2 0 Maiden flight
V-2  United Kingdom 3 2 0 1 Maiden flight
V-2  Soviet Union 11 4 4 3 Maiden flight, retired
R-1  Soviet Union 29 25 4 0 Maiden flight
R-1A  Soviet Union 6 4 0 2 Maiden flight
R-2  Soviet Union 5 3 0 2 Maiden flight

See also

References

  1. ^ Paul Voosen (24 July 2018). "Outer space may have just gotten a bit closer". Science. doi:10.1126/science.aau8822. Archived from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Louis de Gouyon Matignon. "Peenemünde and the German V-2 rockets". Space Legal Issues. Archived from the original on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  3. ^ Dieter K. Kuzel (1962). Peenemünde to Canaveral. United States of America: Prentice Hall.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Willy Ley (June 1951). Rockets, Missiles, and Space Travel. Dominion of Canada: Viking Press. OCLC 716327624.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Boris Chertok (June 2006). Rockets and People, Volume II: Creating a Rocket Industry. Washington D.C.: NASA. OCLC 946818748.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Milton W. Rosen (1955). The Viking Rocket Story. New York: Harper & Brothers. OCLC 317524549.
  7. ^ a b George Ludwig (2011). Opening Space Research. Washington D.C.: geopress. OCLC 845256256.
  8. ^ Beischer, DE; Fregly, AR (1962). "Animals and man in space. A chronology and annotated bibliography through the year 1960" (PDF). US Naval School of Aviation Medicine. ONR TR ACR-64 (AD0272581). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
  9. ^ Asif A. Siddiqi. Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945-1974 (pdf). Washington D.C.: NASA. OCLC 1001823253. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Mark Wade. "R-1A". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au Mark Wade. "Aerobee". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Mark Wade. "V-2". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 6 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Report on operation 'Backfire' Recording and analysis of the trajectory. 5. Ministry of Supply. January 1946. pp. 9–11.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao L. D. White (September 1952). Final Report, Project Hermes V-2 Missile Program. Schnectady, New York: Guided Missile Department, Aeronautic and Ordnance Systems Division, Defense Products Group, General Electric. p. Table I.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gregory P. Kennedy (2009). The Rockets and Missiles of White Sands Proving Ground. Atglen, PA.: Schiffer Publishing. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7643-3251-7.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Charles P. Smith, Jr. (February 1958). Naval Research Laboratory Report No. 4276 Upper Atmospheric Research Report Number XXI, Summary of Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Firings. Washington D.C.: Naval Research Laboratory. Archived from the original (pdf) on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  17. ^ H. E. Newell, Jr.; J. W. Siry (30 December 1946). Naval Research Laboratory Report No. R-3030: Upper Atmospheric Research Report Number II (PDF). Washington D.C.: Naval Research Laboratory. pp. 11, 91. Archived from the original (pdf) on 6 September 2017.
  18. ^ a b H. E. Newell, Jr.; J. W. Siry (30 December 1946). Naval Research Laboratory Report No. R-3030: Upper Atmospheric Research Report Number II (PDF). Washington D.C.: Naval Research Laboratory. p. Table I. Archived from the original (pdf) on 6 September 2017.
  19. ^ F. Zwicky (February 1947). "The First Night–Firing of a V-2 Rocket in the United States" (pdf). Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 59 (346): 32. Archived from the original on 20 June 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b Gregory P. Kennedy. "Chronology of Human Space Exploration: Part 1: 1900 – 1950". I-Spy Space. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  21. ^ Michael J. Neufeld (2007). Von Braun, Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War. New York: Vintage Books. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-307-38937-4.
  22. ^ Gregory P. Kennedy (2009). The Rockets and Missiles of White Sands Proving Ground. Atglen, PA.: Schiffer Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-7643-3251-7.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mark Wade. "Kapustin Yar V-2". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 22 February 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  24. ^ Mark Wade. "1947". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 8 November 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  25. ^ James A. Van Allen & John W. Townsend, Jr. (1959). "Chapter 4:The Aerobee Rocket". In H. E. Newell (ed.). Sounding Rockets. McGraw-Hill Book Company. pp. 61–62.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Mark Wade. "BUMPER-WAC". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Mark Wade. "R-1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Mark Wade. "White Sands LC33". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 5 May 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  29. ^ a b c d e f Mark Wade. "Viking Sounding Rocket". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 8 July 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  30. ^ Mark Wade. "V-2 Chronology". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  31. ^ a b c d e Mark Wade. "R-2E". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mark Wade. "R-2". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  33. ^ Michael J. Neufeld (2007). Von Braun, Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War. New York: Vintage Books. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-307-38937-4.