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Military Origins of the Space Race

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The V-2 Missile
The Corporal Missile
Rocket Rivals
The Ultimate Weapon
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The Scout Program


Long-range ballistic missiles were not a top priority in the United States immediately after World War II. Until a national policy was clarified in the 1950s, the U.S. armed services competed among themselves to develop missiles. This interservice rivalry led to some early confusion and duplication.

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Army --in addition to the Hermes and Corporal projects, began work on larger rockets, including the Redstone, Juno, and Jupiter, as well as the Nike antiaircraft missile.

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Navy --developed Aerobee and Viking sounding rockets, as well as smaller ship-to-air and ship-to-ship missiles.

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Air Force --inherited from the Army Air Forces various industry proposals for long-range missiles. One of these, the MX-774 program, eventually led to the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile.

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