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Originally a public domain film, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Research utilizing V-2 rockets after World War II produced valuable results concerning the nature of cosmic rays, the solar spectrum, and the distribution of atmospheric ozone. The limited supply and the expense of assembling and firing the V-2 rockets led to the development of a low cost sounding rocket to be utilized for scientific research. This rocket, the Aerobee, was developed under the joint guidance of James Van Allen at the Applied Physics Laboratory and Rolf Sabersky at the Aerojet Corporation and was supported by the Navy Bureau of Ordnance and the Naval Office of Research and Inventions (later ONR). The Aerobee drastically reduced the cost of a single research mission.
It was built by Aerojet General. The company began work in 1946 and test fired the first complete Aerobee from the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico on November 24, 1947. It reached an altitude of 34.7 miles (55.8 km)…
The rocket was two stage with a solid-fuel boost and a nitric acid/aniline sustainer. The rockets could reach around 230 km (a later variant exceeded 400 km). Instrumentation usually provided constant telemetry and was recovered by parachute. For accurate pointing special gimbal mounts were developed.
Aerobees were launched from 53 m tall launch towers to provide the necessary stability until the rockets gained enough speed for their fins to be effective in controlling attitude. Launch towers were built at the White Sands Missile Range, Churchill Rocket Research Range, Wallops Flight Facility, and aboard the research vessel USS Norton Sound. The Aerobee could take a 68 kg payload to an altitude of 130 km.
The first instrument-carrying Aerobee was the A-5, launched on March 5, 1948, from White Sands, carrying instruments for cosmic radiation research, reaching an altitude of 117.5 km. When the last Aerobee flew at White Sands in 1958, around 165 (including variants) had been successfully fired at that location. Variants of the Aerobee were launched in 1968 and 1969 for research relating to the Apollo program. The Aerojet engineers also developed the Aerobee-Hi (first launched in 1955).
A total of 1,037 Aerobees (including variants) were launched from all locations, the last on January 17, 1985.