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Rocket Motor, Liquid Fuel, James H. Wyld, Serial No. 2


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This is the regeneratively-cooled liquid fuel rocket motor designed and built in 1942 by James H. Wyld of the American Rocket Society (ARS) for the Navy. It is a copy of the original Wyld motor, built in 1937 and successfully tested in 1938 and 1941.

One major problem facing early rocket experimenters was a suitable cooling for their motors, which often over-heated. In the regenerative system, the propellant circulates around the motor's cooling jacket before injection into the combustion chamber, where it is ignited with the oxidizer (liquid oxygen). Wyld, with three other ARS members, formed Reaction Motors, Inc. (RMI) in 1941 to develop the Wyld engine. RMI thus produced reliable JATO (Jet-Assisted-Take-Off) motors to help lift large, heavily-loaded planes. The motor was donated to the Smithsonian in 1968 by the Aerojet General Corp.

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 Aerojet General Corporation


Cooling jacket, steel; rods and bolts, steel; retainer rings (two), Chrome-plated steel; propellant inlet,, non-ferrous, Chrome-plated; B-nut, brass; top fixture (ignitor unit), probably brass; nozzle nut, brass; nozzle, proper, non-ferrous


3-D: 24.1 × 14 × 8.9cm (9 1/2 × 5 1/2 × 3 1/2 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America




PROPULSION-Rocket Engines

Inventory Number


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