Gorgon IIA Missile


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Gorgon IIA Missile

Collection Item Summary:

This is the Gorgon II-A, claimed as the U.S.'s first liquid-fuel, rocket-powered guided missile. It was developed as an air-to-air weapon by the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) in World War II. With a range of 18 miles, the Gorgon II-A utilized a television guidance system to locate the target and was controlled by radio signals. Only 21 Gorgon II-A's were built and flight tested during 1945-1946. This is one of the few surviving examples.

The Gorgon was also one of America's first attempts to use television in guided missiles for target tracking although the TV transmissions were weak. The missile's rocket motor produced 350 pounds of thrust. The program was cancelled in 1946. This missile was donated to the Smithsonian in 1951 by the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics.

Collection Item Long Description:


ca. 1943-1946

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Transferred from U.S. Navy

Country of Origin

United States of America


Overall, made of laminated wood; fins, also wood, but moveable control surfaces aluminum; gyro, steel; carbon dioxide cylinder, steel; motor, mostly stainless steel; nuts on same, steel; blue pipe fittings on motor, anodized aluminum; nose, wood, but dome, plastic painted over in yellow to match body; tail cone, aluminum; straps, for holding missile when formerly suspended, steel and fabric; propellant tank, overall, stainless steel; blue fittings on propellant tank, aluminum; reddish valve on propellant tank, brass; internals also contain electrical wires with clear plastic insulation; copper strip running throughout most of internal wall lengths inside fuselage.


Overall: 1 ft. 2 1/2 in. long x 11 in. span, 480 lb. (36.83 x 27.94cm, 217.7kg)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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


CRAFT-Missiles & Rockets

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