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Home > Early Days > Timeline of Rocket History > Rockets for the Army (1950s)

Rockets for the Army (1950s)

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U.S. ARMY REDSTONE Early on, the Huntsville team developed the Redstone rocket, also known as "Old Reliable" because of its many diverse missions. The Redstone was a high-accuracy, liquid-propelled, surface-to-surface missile. The Von Braun team loped and launched the first Redstone missile in August 1953.
SPUTNIK The Army Ballistic Missile Agency incorporated the Von Braun team in key positions with Dr. Von Braun as head of the Development Operations Division. On October 4, 1957, the nation was shocked when the Russians launched Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite. Two months later, the United States suffered disappointment when a Navy Vanguard rocket, with its satellite payload, failed to develop sufficient thrust and toppled over on the launch pad.
JUPITER-C LAUNCH Due to their foresight in planning and preparation, the Von Braun team was ready when the United States turned to the Huntsville group to launch America's first satellite.
JUPITER-C NEWSPAPER HEADLINE In January 1958, a modified Redstone rocket lofted the first American satellite into orbit just 3 months after the Von Braun team received the go-ahead. This modified Redstone rocket was known as a Jupiter-C. Its satellite payload was called Explorer I.
VON BRAUN. OTHERS HOLDING EXPLORER I The announcement that Explorer I had become the first American satellite to orbit the Earth represented a moment of triumph and focused national attention on the Von Braun team's launch vehicle capabilities.
JUNO II Von Braun and his team were responsible for the Jupiter-C hardware. The family of launch vehicles, developed by the team, also came to include the Juno II used to launch the Pioneer IV satellite on March 3, Pioneer IV passed within 37,000 miles of the moon before going into solar orbit.

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