Nose Cone, Missile, Jupiter C

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    Jupiter-C Nose Cone

    Stainless steel cone covered with unknown material that has been painted white. The material is smooth and shows no signs of charring. In this regard, Gen. Medairis's Daily Journal entry (a copy of which is in the Registrars File) indicates that the flown ablative material was "peeled off" before the nose cone went to the White House in November 1957. There is no documentation available on whether the material on it now is the underbody of the original Rockide ablative coating or was attached after the August 1957 flight. However, two scientists from the Applied Physics Lab (Paul Biermann and Ed Ott) who inspected the nose cone on 1 June 2006 said it is probably the underbody since they saw sensors paths in it. A stainless steel plate is welded and bolted to the aft end. Whether this is original equipment is not known. There is no instrumentation inside, but there are fittings that were probably used for thermocouples and other sensors.

    1 of 6

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    Jupiter-C Nose Cone

    Stainless steel cone covered with unknown material that has been painted white. The material is smooth and shows no signs of charring. In this regard, Gen. Medairis's Daily Journal entry (a copy of which is in the Registrars File) indicates that the flown ablative material was "peeled off" before the nose cone went to the White House in November 1957. There is no documentation available on whether the material on it now is the underbody of the original Rockide ablative coating or was attached after the August 1957 flight. However, two scientists from the Applied Physics Lab (Paul Biermann and Ed Ott) who inspected the nose cone on 1 June 2006 said it is probably the underbody since they saw sensors paths in it. A stainless steel plate is welded and bolted to the aft end. Whether this is original equipment is not known. There is no instrumentation inside, but there are fittings that were probably used for thermocouples and other sensors.

    2 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    Jupiter-C Nose Cone

    Stainless steel cone covered with unknown material that has been painted white. The material is smooth and shows no signs of charring. In this regard, Gen. Medairis's Daily Journal entry (a copy of which is in the Registrars File) indicates that the flown ablative material was "peeled off" before the nose cone went to the White House in November 1957. There is no documentation available on whether the material on it now is the underbody of the original Rockide ablative coating or was attached after the August 1957 flight. However, two scientists from the Applied Physics Lab (Paul Biermann and Ed Ott) who inspected the nose cone on 1 June 2006 said it is probably the underbody since they saw sensors paths in it. A stainless steel plate is welded and bolted to the aft end. Whether this is original equipment is not known. There is no instrumentation inside, but there are fittings that were probably used for thermocouples and other sensors.

    3 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    Jupiter-C Nose Cone

    Stainless steel cone covered with unknown material that has been painted white. The material is smooth and shows no signs of charring. In this regard, Gen. Medairis's Daily Journal entry (a copy of which is in the Registrars File) indicates that the flown ablative material was "peeled off" before the nose cone went to the White House in November 1957. There is no documentation available on whether the material on it now is the underbody of the original Rockide ablative coating or was attached after the August 1957 flight. However, two scientists from the Applied Physics Lab (Paul Biermann and Ed Ott) who inspected the nose cone on 1 June 2006 said it is probably the underbody since they saw sensors paths in it. A stainless steel plate is welded and bolted to the aft end. Whether this is original equipment is not known. There is no instrumentation inside, but there are fittings that were probably used for thermocouples and other sensors.

    4 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    Jupiter-C Nose Cone

    Stainless steel cone covered with unknown material that has been painted white. The material is smooth and shows no signs of charring. In this regard, Gen. Medairis's Daily Journal entry (a copy of which is in the Registrars File) indicates that the flown ablative material was "peeled off" before the nose cone went to the White House in November 1957. There is no documentation available on whether the material on it now is the underbody of the original Rockide ablative coating or was attached after the August 1957 flight. However, two scientists from the Applied Physics Lab (Paul Biermann and Ed Ott) who inspected the nose cone on 1 June 2006 said it is probably the underbody since they saw sensors paths in it. A stainless steel plate is welded and bolted to the aft end. Whether this is original equipment is not known. There is no instrumentation inside, but there are fittings that were probably used for thermocouples and other sensors.

    5 of 6

    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Jupiter-C Nose Cone

    Stainless steel cone covered with unknown material that has been painted white. The material is smooth and shows no signs of charring. In this regard, Gen. Medairis's Daily Journal entry (a copy of which is in the Registrars File) indicates that the flown ablative material was "peeled off" before the nose cone went to the White House in November 1957. There is no documentation available on whether the material on it now is the underbody of the original Rockide ablative coating or was attached after the August 1957 flight. However, two scientists from the Applied Physics Lab (Paul Biermann and Ed Ott) who inspected the nose cone on 1 June 2006 said it is probably the underbody since they saw sensors paths in it. A stainless steel plate is welded and bolted to the aft end. Whether this is original equipment is not known. There is no instrumentation inside, but there are fittings that were probably used for thermocouples and other sensors.

    6 of 6

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Race exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

This is the first U.S. nose cone with an ablative heat shield to be recovered from space. The ablative covering, made of a ceramic material, was designed to protect it from the tremendous temperatures experienced during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. The Army Ballistic Missile Agency launched this nose cone atop a Jupiter-C rocket from Cape Canaveral on August 8, 1957. It reached an altitude of 435 kilometers (270 miles) and a temperature of 1,100 C (2,000 F). U.S. Navy ships recovered the nose cone more than 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) downrange. The nose cone was one-third the size of the actual reentry vehicle being developed for the Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missile. Its test flight was a key milestone in the development of reentry vehicles that could carry nuclear warheads to their targets. The Army Ballistic Missile Agency transferred it to NASM in 1958.