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Redstone Missile Rocket Engine


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:

This is the Redstone rocket engine and was the U.S.'s first operational large-scale rocket engine. Development began in 1950 by North American Aviation. The engine used liquid oxygen and alcohol and developed 75,000 pounds of thrust.

On January 31, 1958, a modified Redstone rocket called the Jupiter-C, using more powerful fuel, launched Explorer 1, the first successful U.S. satellite, into orbit. On May 5, 1961, a Redstone launched Alan B. Shepard, the first American astronaut into space. The Redstone was the forerunner of other important large-scale U.S. engines, including those for the Thor, Jupiter, and Atlas missiles, the Saturn V launch vehicle, and the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME). This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1991 by the U.S. Army.

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

Transferred from the U.S. Army.


Combustion chamber, injectors, and some tubing, 4130 steel; propellant lines, pumps, impellers, and valves, aluminum alloys including heat exchanger; harness manifold and other parts, steel.


Other (outer): 2 ft. 8 in. diameter x 10 ft. 9 in. long x 4 ft. 1 in. wide (81.3 x 327.7 x 124.5cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


PROPULSION-Rocket Engines

Inventory Number