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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


  • Aerojet General Corp.
  • Space-General Corporation, El Monte, California

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)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America


CRAFT-Missiles & Rocket Parts

Inventory Number


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