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Rocket Motor, Solid Fuel, Vanguard Third Stage, also Designated X248-A2 or Altai

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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 X248-A2 solid fuel rocket motor, also called Altair, that powered the third stage of the Vanguard III launch vehicle, launched in 1959. Altair was also used as the third stage of the Thor-Able-4 vehicle that launched the Pioneer V space probe and Tiros 1, the first weather satellite, and third stage for the Pioneer I, Explorer VI, and other launch vehicles.

The motor, built by the Allegheny Ballistic Laboratory of Hercules Inc., produced 3,070 pounds of thrust and was made with a filament-wound fiber-reinforced epoxy resin. This very strong construction, plus the motor's high performance for its small weight, made it a pioneering development in solid fuel rocket technology. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1968 by the Alleghany Ballistics Lab.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

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

Manufacturer

Alleghany Ballistics Laboratory, Hercules Incorporated

Credit Line

Gift of Alleghany Ballistics Laboratory, Hercules Incorporated

Materials

Casing, Spiralloy filament-wound fiberglass reinforced epoxy resin

Dimensions

Overall: 5 ft. long x 1 ft. 5 in. diameter, 203 lb. (152.4 x 43.18cm, 92.1kg)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Date

ca. 1956-1960 [for actual motor]; ca. mid-1960's

Type

PROPULSION-Rocket Engines

Inventory Number

A19680576000

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