Encyclopedia Astronautica
Hermes A-1



hermes1a.jpg
Hermes A-1
The Army Hermes A-1 single stage test rocket was an American version of the German Wasserfall anti-aircraft rocket.

Development began in 1946 of an American version of the German Wasserfall rocket. Problems with the rocket engine delayed the first (failed) launch to May. Another failure in September 1950 was followed by a success on 2 February 1951. After two more tests in March and April the program was terminated in 1951, having been rendered irrelevant by more successful development of the Nike Ajax surface-to-air missile.

Failures: 2. First Fail Date: 1950-05-19. Last Fail Date: 1950-09-14. Maximum range: 65 km (40 mi).

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

After several configurations for the Hermes A-1 surface-to-air missile had been studied, it was decided in 1946 to base the missile on the war-time German Wasserfall SAM. However, after the SAM-N-7-MIM-3 Nike project had been started in the same year, the Hermes A-1 was redefined as a pure test vehicle for guidance and control systems. During 1947 and 1948, component flight testing took place on V-2s, but problems with the rocket engine delayed the launch of the first Hermes A-1 (designated CTV-G-5 in early 1948) until 1950. After two failures in May and September 1950, the first fully successful flight occurred on 2 February 1951, followed by two more tests in March and April that year. This concluded the flight test program of the CTV-G-5, which was formally redesignated as RV-A-5 in mid-1951.

The CTV-G-5's aerodynamic characteristics, its propulsion system, and its radio-command guidance system were considered satisfactory. During 1950, improved versions of the CTV-G-5 were studied (as Hermes A-1E1 and Hermes A-1E2), and the designation SSM-G-15 (formally changed to SSM-A-15 in mid-1951) was reserved for a tactical surface-to-surface version of the Hermes A-1. However, the SSM-G-15 proposal was very short-lived, and in May 1950 the Hermes A-1 was again and finally reduced to a pure research program. No XSSM-G-15 missile was built as such, but it appears that one Hermes A-1E1 was assembled but not flown. The whole Hermes A-1 program was officially terminated in October 1951, when the focus for liquid-fueled rocket-powered Hermes development had shifted to the Hermes A-3.

AKA: RV-A-5; SSM-A-15; CTV-G-5; SSM-G-15.
Gross mass: 3,025 kg (6,668 lb).
Height: 7.77 m (25.49 ft).
Diameter: 0.86 m (2.82 ft).
Span: 2.49 m (8.16 ft).
Thrust: 71.00 kN (15,961 lbf).
Apogee: 25 km (15 mi).
First Launch: 1950.05.19.
Last Launch: 1951.04.26.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • A4 The V-2, known as the A4 to its developers, was the basis for most of the rocketry that exists in the world today. It was ineffective as a weapon of war, but represented a quantum leap in technology. The A1, A2, A3, and A5 were steps in the development of the missile. Later versions - the A6 through A12 - were planned to take the Third Reich to the planets. More...
  • Hermes Hermes was a major US Army project to implement German rocket technology after World War II. Development started in 1944 with award to General Electric as the prime contractor. The program was cancelled in 1954 after $ 96.4 million had been spent. Most of this was for nought since the Air Force received the long-range missile assignment in the end. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • GE American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. General Electric Corporation, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing. More...
  • White Sands LC33 Wac, Viking, V-2, Nike, Javelin, Hermes, Corporal, Atlas, Apache launch complex. LC 33 was the United States' first major rocket launch facility. The original Army Launch Area 1 complex consisted of a blockhouse, several concrete launching pads for captured German V-2 rockets, a 30-m tall launch tower for Aerobee rockets, a gantry and blast pit. More...

Associated Stages
  • Hermes A-1-1 Nitric acid/Amine propellant rocket stage. Loaded mass 5,000 kg. Thrust 71.00 kN. Nitric acid/Tonka propellants. More...

Hermes A-1 Chronology


1950 May 19 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Hermes. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. LV Configuration: Hermes A-1 1. FAILURE: Failure.
  • - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: First Army Hermes A-1 test rocket fired at WSPG..

1950 September 14 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Hermes. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. LV Configuration: Hermes A-1 2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1951 February 8 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Hermes. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. LV Configuration: Hermes A-1 4.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

1951 March 15 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Hermes. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. LV Configuration: Hermes A-1 5.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

1951 April 26 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Hermes. Launch Vehicle: Hermes A-1. LV Configuration: Hermes A-1 6.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 24 km (14 mi).

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