Zoomed out view of Kuiper with a Redstone rocket. He is small.

Redstone Rocket

Kuiper for scale with Redstone PGM-11.

Thank you to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History @nuclear_museum in Albuquerque, NM for allowing Kuiper to make a very special visit. Photo taken with my heckin’ wide angle lens. 😁

For reference, Kuiper is about 22.5″ (57 cm) tall at the shoulder. This rocket is over 69 ft (21 m) tall, and nearly 6 ft (~1.8 m) in diameter!

The Redstone PGM-11 was America’s first Missile with a capital M. Its origins are complicated and will be the subject of the next couple of posts. Heads up: There will be Nazis. There will be a toilet. There will be a Nazi toilet. It will be full of vital scientific information. Stay tuned.

For today what I’d like you to know:

Redstone was developed by the US Army, with its first test flight on August 20, 1953 from Cape Canaveral.

With just a few modifications, this here rocket is the same kind that launched Explorer 1. 🛰️ That’s the 1st American satellite that launched on Jan 31, 1958 (see previous post with launch console.) The Explorer-modified rocket was called “Juno I,” which was a riff on another configuration of the Redstone called “Jupiter-C*.” The Jupiter-C was the first missile to test an ablative heat shield (that means it has a layer that is designed to melt off upon re-entry.)

This! Redstone! is! also! basically the same rocket that would launch Alan Shepard on a suborbital flight on May 5, 1961, making him the first American in SPAAAAACE.

With me so far? Next up we’ll take a detour to WWII for some background on how Redstone was developed..

* [Okay, so the Nuclear Museum also has a “Jupiter” missile, which I also photographed Kuiper with. However, as far as I can tell, it’s a Jupiter IRBM (PGM-19) which was A. developed later by the Air Force B. is unrelated to Redstone or heat shield testing. Confusingly, the launch vehicle version of this Jupiter (which carried several monkeys on suborbital flights in 1958 and 1959) was called “Juno II.” Code names, man. Code names. 🤔🤷‍♀️]

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtZFPgxjvSS/

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