Encyclopedia Astronautica
Rockair


American sounding rocket. The Rockair technique (research rocket launched from aircraft) was developed by the Office of Naval Research and the University of Maryland. A 2.75-inch FFAR rocket was fired from a Navy F2H-2 Banshee aircraft to an altitude of approximately 60,000 m.

From NASA SOUNDING ROCKETS, 1958-1968 - A Historical Summary, NASA SP-4401, 1971, by William R. Corliss

If balloons were so useful in stretching rocket performance, why not try high-altitude aircraft? Thus, the "rockaire" concept was born. Actually the rockaire concept was first suggested by Hermann Oberth in his 1929 classic Wege zur Raumschiffahrt. The Air Force studied the idea on and off from 1947 on. The Navy did the same and finally tried the idea out on August 16, 1955, using a Navy F2H2 aircraft off Wallops Island. An altitude of 54 864 m (180 000 ft) was reached with a 69.9-mm (2.75-in.) folded-fin aerial rocket (FFAR) of Korean vintage. The Air Force launched theirs in 1956. In general, however, the rockaire concept never achieved the popularity of the rockoon. Apparently no important scientific rocket research was carried out with rockaires, in contrast to the hundreds of rockoons fired during the 1950s.

Failures: 4. Success Rate: 20.00%. First Fail Date: 1955-08-16. Last Fail Date: 1955-11-01. Launch data is: complete.

Status: Retired 1955.
Height: 1.20 m (3.90 ft).
Diameter: 0.0700 m (0.2290 ft).
Thrust: 3.00 kN (674 lbf).
Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).
First Launch: 1955.08.16.
Last Launch: 1955.11.01.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Maryland American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. University of Maryland, USA. More...
  • ONR American agency overseeing development of rockets. Office of Naval Research, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Emme, Eugene M, Aeronautics and Astronautics: An American Chronology of Science and Technology in the Exploration of Space 1915-1960, NASA, 1961. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • NAOTS F2H aircraft flying from this Naval Air Station launched Rockair sounding rockets in 1955, known to have been used for 5 launches, reaching up to 55 kilometers altitude. More...

Associated Stages

Rockair Chronology


1955 August 16 - . Launch Site: NAOTS. Launch Platform: F2H2. Launch Vehicle: Rockair. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi). First successful demonstration of Rockair technique (resarch rocket launched from aircraft) by ONR and University of Maryland team, a 2.75-inch FFAR rocket fired from a Navy F2H-2 aircraft to an altitude of approximately 180,000 feet. Rockair technique first suggested by Herman Oberth (1929) and others.

1955 August 16 - . Launch Site: NAOTS. Launch Platform: F2H2. Launch Vehicle: Rockair. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 9.00 km (5.50 mi).

1955 August 16 - . Launch Site: NAOTS. Launch Platform: F2H2. Launch Vehicle: Rockair.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 55 km (34 mi).

1955 November 1 - . Launch Site: NAOTS. Launch Platform: F2H2. Launch Vehicle: Rockair. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

1955 November 1 - . Launch Site: NAOTS. Launch Platform: F2H2. Launch Vehicle: Rockair. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).

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