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Military Origins of the Space Race

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The V-2 Missile
The Corporal Missile
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While German V-2s were being used in wartime Europe, long-range missiles were still in the planning stages in the United States. The WAC Corporal represents the state of American rocketry in 1945.


The WAC Corporal was a small liquid- propellant sounding rocket, developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the U.S. Army. It used an attached solid-propellant booster to clear the launch tower. The first WAC was launched at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, in October 1945. It reached an altitude of about 75 kilometers (45 miles). Improved versions of the rocket reached 100 kilometers (60 miles).

Donated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology

Army's Corporal missile
78 k jpeg
NASM#: A-5048-B
Length: 4.9 m (16 ft 2 in)
Weight: 300 kg (700 lb)
Thrust: 6,700 newtons (1,500 lb)
Propellants: Aniline and nitric acid
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Corp. (airframe), Aerojet Engineering Corp. (engine), California Institute of Technology (booster)

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