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Ablative nose cone tip, Aerobee


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Rockets and Missiles exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

Ablative nosecone tip from a retrieved Aerobee rocket that carried an instrument that detected the first non-solar x-ray source in the sky. Recovered after the June 18, 1962 flight from White Sands, New Mexico, it was presented to Riccardo Giacconi, the team leader of the American Science & Engineering that built the x-ray telescope payload and pushed to detect x-ray radiation from celestial sources. This solid nosecone tip, assumed to be part of a typical payload shroud system built by Space-General Corporation, formerly a part of Aerojet-General (the original manufacturer of the Aerobee family), was donated to NASM in August 2000 by Riccardo and Mirella Giacconi.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Gift of Ricardo and Mirella Giacconi


Oxydized metal on a brass base


  • Overall: 8 in. long x 3 3/4 in. diameter (20.32 x 9.53cm)
  • Other (cone): 6 in. long x 2 in. diameter (15.24 x 5.08cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


CRAFT-Missiles & Rocket Parts

Inventory Number


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