Encyclopedia Astronautica
Thor Able I


American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 1/AJ10-41 + 1 x Altair

LEO Payload: 50 kg (110 lb). Failures: 3. First Fail Date: 1958-08-17. Last Fail Date: 1958-11-08.

Status: Retired 1958.
Gross mass: 52,000 kg (114,000 lb).
Payload: 50 kg (110 lb).
Height: 26.90 m (88.20 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Thrust: 710.00 kN (159,610 lbf).
Apogee: 100,000 km (60,000 mi).
First Launch: 1958.08.17.
Last Launch: 1958.11.08.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Pioneer 0-1-2 American lunar orbiter. 3 launches, 1958.08.17 (Pioneer (1)) to 1958.11.08 (Pioneer 2). Pioneers 0, 1 and 2 were the first U. S. spacecraft to attempt to leave Earth orbit. More...

See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Pioneer The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pioneer series were the first US probes sent towards the moon. Later Pioneers explored the heliocentric space environment and were the first spacecraft to reach the outer planets and to escape from the solar system. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

Associated Stages
  • Able Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,884/429 kg. Thrust 34.69 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 270 seconds. Engine for Vanguard was AJ10-37; for later Able models AJ10-41 and AJ10-42. Total of 21 stages built and delivered by Aerojet. More...
  • Thor DM-19 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 49,340/3,125 kg. Thrust 758.71 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 282 seconds. More...

Thor Able I Chronology


1958 August 17 - . 12:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able I. LV Configuration: Thor Able I 127. FAILURE: Thor exploded after 77 sec.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Pioneer (1) - . Payload: Pioneer / Able 1. Mass: 38 kg (83 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Pioneer. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 0-1-2. Decay Date: 1958-08-17 . COSPAR: F580817B. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi). Summary: First US lunar attempt. The first US Air Force lunar probe, using a Thor-Able booster. An explosion ripped it apart 77 seconds after launch..

1958 October 11 - . 08:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able I. LV Configuration: Thor Able I 130. FAILURE: Third stage produced insufficient thrust. Partial Failure.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Pioneer 1 - . Payload: Pioneer 1 / Able 2. Mass: 38 kg (83 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 0-1-2. Decay Date: 1958-10-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 110 . COSPAR: 1958-Eta-1. Summary: Set distance record; failed to reach moon..

1958 November 8 - . 07:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able I. LV Configuration: Thor Able I 129. FAILURE: Third stage ignition unsuccessful.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Pioneer 2 - . Payload: Pioneer 2 / Able 3. Mass: 39 kg (85 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer 0-1-2. Decay Date: 1958-11-08 . COSPAR: F581108A. Apogee: 1,550 km (960 mi). Summary: Pioneer 2 was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range, using a Thor-Able booster, the Air Force acting as executive agent to NASA. The 86.3-pound instrumented payload, intended as a lunar probe, failed to reach escape velocity..

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