This is the F-23 research rocket used during 1950-1954 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at its research facility at Wallops Island, Virginia, to test ramjet engines under actual flight conditions.
Each of the ramjet pods produced a thrust of 1,000 pounds (450 kg), using acetylene and rammed-in air. Supersonic speeds were obtained at altitudes up to 159,000 feet (48,460 m). The F-23 also made important contributions in testing various ramjet fuels. This object was donated in 1979 to the Smithsonian by NASA.
Transferred from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)