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Aerobee rocket

The Aerobee rocket was a small (8 m) unguided suborbital sounding rocket used for high atmospheric and cosmic radiation research in the United States in the 1950s.

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 in November 1947, it reached an altitude of almost 58 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.

The first instrument carrying Aerobee was the A-5 which was launched on March 5, 1948 from White Sands, carrying instruments for cosmic radiation research it reached an altitude of 117.5 km. The last Aerobee flight was in 1958, around 165 (including variants) had been successfully fired. 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).