Viking Sounding Rocket


Display Status:

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

Collection Item Summary:

This is the Viking 12, the last of a series of U.S. large-scale, liquid-propellant sounding rockets designed specifically to replace the diminishing numbers of captured V-2 rockets used for upper-atmospheric research after World War II. Viking's 20,000-pound thrust, XLR-10 liquid-propellant rocket engine was developed by Reaction Motors, Incorported. The rocket first flew in 1949.

Viking rockets differed in their configurations and payload capabilities. Viking No. 12, launched from White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico in 1955, reached a height of 144 miles. The Viking 12 shown here was reconstructed from parts recovered from the original rocket. The reconstructed Viking 12 was donated in 1976 to the Smithsonian by the Martin Marietta Corp.

Collection Item Long Description:



Inventory Number


Credit Line

Martin Marietta Corp.


Country of Origin

United States of America


Aluminum body and other metals


Overall: 42 ft. 15/16 in. tall x 3 ft. 9 in. diameter x 12 ft. wing span, 2022 lb. (1282.54 x 114.3 x 365.76cm, 917.2kg)

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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