Ancient Rocketry 1642 to 1828 1829 to 1930 1931 to 1945 1946 to 1955 1956 to 1966 1967 to 1980 1981 to present
1946In January, the U.S. outer space research program was started with captured V-2 rockets. A V-2 panel of representatives of interested agencies was formed, and more than 60 rockets were fired before the supply was finally exhausted. On March 15, the first American built V-2 rocket was static-fired at the White Sands Proving Grounds.
The first American-built rocket to leave the earth's atmosphere (the WAC) was launched on March 22nd. It was launched from White Sands, and attained 50 miles of altitude.
The U.S. Army began a program to develop two stage rockets. This resulted in the WAC Corporal as the 2nd stage of a V-2. On October 24th, a V-2 with a motion picture camera was launched. It recorded images from 65 miles above the earth, covering 40,000 square miles. On December 17th, the first night-flight of a V-2 occurred. It achieved a record making 116 miles of altitude, and velocity of 3600 mph.
German rocket engineers arrived in Russia to begin work with Soviet rocket research groups. Sergei Korolev built rockets using technology from the V-2.
1947The Russians began launch tests of their V-2 rockets, at Kapustin Yar.
Telemetry was successfully used for the first time in a V-2, launched from White Sands. On February 20th, the first of a series of rockets was launched for the purpose of testing ejection canister effectivity. On May 29, a modified V-2 landed 1.5 miles south of Juarez, Mexico, narrowly missing a large ammunition dump. The first V-2 to be launched from a ship was launched from the deck of the U.S.S. Midway, on September 6th.
1948On May 13th, the first two-stage rocket launched in the Western Hemisphere was launched from the White Sands facility. It was a V-2 which had been converted to include a WAC-Corporal upper stage. It reached a total altitude of 79 miles.
White Sands launched the first in a series of rockets that contained live animals, on June 11. The launches were named "Albert," after the monkey that rode in the first rocket. Albert died of suffocation in the rocket. Several monkeys and mice were killed in the experiments.
On June 26, two rockets, a V-2 and an Aerobee were launched from White Sands. The V-2 attained 60.3 miles, while the Aerobee attained 70 miles altitude.
1949A number 5 two-stage rocket was launched to 244 miles of altitude, and 5,510 mph velocity over White Sands. It set a new record for the time-being, on February 24.
On May 11, President Truman signed a bill for a 5,000 mile test range to extend from Cape Kennedy Florida. The Secretary of the Army approved the relocation of the White Sands scientists and their equipment to Huntsville, Alabama.