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Shipping Crate, Rocket, Solid-Fuel, Jet-Assisted Take-Off (JATO), RI 502


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Shipping Crate, Rocket, Solid-Fuel, Jet-Assisted Take-Off (JATO), RI 502

Collection Item Summary:

Two Rheinmetall-Borsig RI 502 solid-fuel Jet-Assisted Take-Off (JATO) rockets were shipped to German Luftwaffe units in this original German Air Ministry shipping crate. The RI 502 was specifically designed as a JATO for large troop-carrying gliders, notably the Gotha Go 242, and was manufactured in large quantities at the end of the war. Similar or identical motors were used as boosters for test missiles, and as aircraft JATOs in place of the standard liquid-fuel hydrogen-peroxide models. As it was standard to mount two JATOs on most non-glider aircraft, these rockets were shipped in pairs.

This case containing two rockets was captured at the end of the war and shipped to Freeman and Wright Fields in the Midwest U.S. before being transferred to the Smithsonian by the U.S. Air Force in 1949.

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. Air Force


Wood, iron or steel fittings


  • 3-D (Box): 134.6 x 53.3 x 30.5cm (53 x 21 x 12 in.)
  • Other (Lid): 2.5cm (1 in.)

Country of Origin




Inventory Number