Collection Item Summary:
This is a payload section from an Aerobee sounding rocket that includes a nosecone, despin section and parachute section. It flew three times in 1963. For the display, the payload section was fitted with the shell of a Naval Research Laboratory Multispectrograph typical of the instruments it carried. This assemblage of five different instruments was mounted on a servo-controlled gimbal mount developed at the University of Colorado. This "pointing control" searched for and locked onto the solar image while the rocket itself tumbled and spun. The pointing control electronics and mechanicals in the artifact were in near working order when it was stored in an NRL attic in the mid-1960s. The multispectrograph and its gimbal mounting are mounted in the nosecone as it was flown on August 22, 1962 and reflown on 1963 Feb 18 and May 10, 1963, all from White Sands, pad LC 35. This assemblage was first loaned to NASM by the Naval Research Laboratory in 1982 and was transferred to the Museum in December 1983. It was on display in the Stars Gallery from June 1983 until October 1997.