Encyclopedia Astronautica
X-17



wx17.jpg
X-17
Credit: via Andreas Parsch
American test vehicle. USAF X-17 flight test program at Cape Canaveral studied reentry problems by simulating reentry velocities and conditions with a three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17. A total of 26 X-17 flights were conducted until March 1957.

Failures: 9. Success Rate: 84.75%. First Fail Date: 1955-06-13. Last Fail Date: 1958-07-01. Launch data is: complete.

Status: Retired 1958.
Gross mass: 3,400 kg (7,400 lb).
Height: 12.30 m (40.30 ft).
Diameter: 0.79 m (2.59 ft).
Thrust: 220.00 kN (49,450 lbf).
Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).
First Launch: 1955.08.26.
Last Launch: 1958.09.06.
Number: 53 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • X-17 USAF X-17 flight test program at Cape Canaveral studied reentry problems by simulating reentry velocities and conditions with a three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17. A total of 26 X-17 flights were conducted until March 1957. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Lockheed American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, CA, 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.
  • Miller, Jay,, The X-Planes, Aerofax, Arlington, Texas, 1988.
  • Grimwood, James M., Project Mercury: A Chronology, NASA Special Publication-4001.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Atlantic Ocean Sounding rocket launches made from naval vessels in the Atlantic accounted for 521 launches from 1947 to 1995, reaching up to 750 kilometers altitude. More...
  • 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...
  • San Clemente Military facility on the California Channel Islands, used for rocket launches in support of other missile tests from Vandenberg or Point Mugu. In use from 1957. Known to have been used for 10 launches from 1958 to 1984, reaching up to 672 kilometers altitude. Later plans were made for an off-shore launch platform here for the Starstruck vehicle. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC3 X-17, V-2, Polaris, Bomarc launch complex. This complex was built to support the Bomarc interceptor missile program, but also supported Bumper, Jason, Redstone, X-17 and Polaris ballistic missile operations. The Air Force accepted Complex 3 in November 1951. The location had already supported the Cape's first major launch - Bumper 8 - on 24 July 1950. Following the last Bomarc launch in April 1960, some Bomarc support facilities were converted into a medical support area for Project Mercury. Later the complex supported tethered aerostat programs from 1983 through 1989. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC25A X-17, Polaris launch complex. Complex 25 was built to support the U.S. Navy's Polaris submarine ballistic missile program. The Navy occupied pad 25A in December 1957. Complex 25 supported 68 Polaris missile launches between 18 April 1958 and 6 March 1965. Pads 25A and 25B were dismantled in September 1969. More...

Associated Stages
  • Sergeant Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 42/21 kg. Thrust 6.66 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 235 seconds. More...

X-17 Chronology


1952 - 1956 - . LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • NACA research on reentry configurations. - . Nation: USA. Personnel of NACA Langley and Ames Aeronautical Laboratories were engaged in research on aerodynamic characteristics of reentry configurations. Knowledge acquired from these efforts along with those of industry and the military services was used in Project Mercury, proved the ablation theory for the Army's Jupiter missile development program, and was used in the Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile nose cone reentry program.

1955 August 26 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 D-1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

1955 September 23 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 D-2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 5.00 km (3.10 mi).

1955 December 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 D-3.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1956 January 20 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 D-4.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 132 km (82 mi).

1956 March 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 D-5.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 116 km (72 mi).

1956 April 17 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-1.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1956 June 26 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 D-6A.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 140 km (80 mi). Summary: USAF X-17 flight test program started at Cape Canaveral to study reentry problems by simulating reentry velocities and conditions with three-stage solid-fuel Lockheed X-17. A total of 26 X-17 flights were conducted until March 1957..

1956 July 17 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-2 4203-3.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 142 km (88 mi).

1956 July 27 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-3 4203-4. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1956 August 18 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-4 4203-2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1956 August 23 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-5 4203-5.
  • 4203-5 re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 142 km (88 mi). Summary: A five-stage, solid-fuel rocket test vehicle, the world's first, was launched to a speed of mach 15 from Wallops Island, Va. by the NACA Langley Aeronautical Laboratory's Pilotless Aircraft Research Division..

1956 August 28 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-6 4203-6.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1956 September 8 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-7 4203-7. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 394 km (244 mi).

1956 October 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-8 4203-8.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 145 km (90 mi).

1956 October 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-9 4203-9.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 117 km (72 mi).

1956 October 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-10 4203-10.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 102 km (63 mi).

1956 October 18 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-11 4203-11.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 155 km (96 mi).

1956 October 25 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-12 4203-12.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 124 km (77 mi).

1956 November 5 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-13 4203-13.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 118 km (73 mi).

1956 November 16 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-14 4203-14.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 107 km (66 mi).

1956 November 23 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-15 4203-15.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 143 km (88 mi).

1956 December 3 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-16 4203-16.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 125 km (77 mi).

1956 December 11 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-17 4203-17.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 144 km (89 mi).

1957 January 8 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-18 4203-18.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 140 km (80 mi).

1957 January 15 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-19 4203-19. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 January 29 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-20 4203-20. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1957 February 7 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-21 4203-21.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 107 km (66 mi).

1957 February 14 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-22 4203-22.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 141 km (87 mi).

1957 March 1 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-23 4203-23.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 151 km (93 mi).

1957 March 11 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-24 4203-A3.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 134 km (83 mi).

1957 March 21 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-25 4203-A4.
  • Re-entry vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 103 km (64 mi).

1957 April 13 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 VI-1 4-204-1A?.
  • 4-204-1A? re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 April 24 - . LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • X-17 reaches 9,000 mph. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Lockheed X-17 research rocket reached 9,000 mph at Patrick AFB, Fla..

1957 June 27 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 4-204-1 4-204-1B?.
  • 4-204-1B? re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 July 16 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 4-204-2.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 July 19 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 3-204-1.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 July 22 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 R-26.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 114 km (70 mi).

1957 August 9 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 3-204-2.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 August 16 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 5-204-1.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 September 3 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 1-204-6.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 October 23 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 1-204-7.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 October 24 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 3-204-3.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 November 8 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 3-204-4.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 November 15 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 1-204-8.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1957 December 11 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC3. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 1-204-9.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1958 June 6 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 1-204-13.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1958 June 24 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC25A. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 1-204-14.
  • Re-entry Vehicle test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1958 July 1 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 2. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1958 July 1 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 3. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1958 July 2 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 1.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 560 km (340 mi).

1958 July 24 - . Launch Site: San Clemente. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17. LV Configuration: X-17 Winder 4.
  • Argus test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 672 km (417 mi).

1958 August 27 - . 02:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Atlantic Ocean. Launch Pad: 38.5 S x 11.5 W. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • Argus I Nuclear test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 160 km (90 mi). The Argus series were the only clandestine nuclear tests ever conducted by the United States. The rocket-launched nuclear warheads were set off at very high altitudes over the South Atlantic, 1800 km south-west of Capetown, South Africa. The purpose was to determine the effects of nuclear explosions on the Earth's magnetic field and the impact to military radar, communications, satellites and ballistic missiles electronics. The earth's magnetic field is not only off-axis from the earth, but also off centre from the earth's core. This means the Van Allen Radiation belts are closest to the earth in the region known as the 'South Atlantic Anomaly'. This made the selected launch point the ideal place for launching a rocket into the lower belt where the particles and radiation from the explosion would be trapped.

    The 1.7 kiloton W-25 warhead used had been developed and previously tested for the Genie air-to-air missile. The first test was launched from vessel AVM1 at 38.5 deg S, 11.5 deg. W, and exploded at an altitude of 160 km. The initial flash was followed by an auroral luminescence extending upward and downward along the magnetic lines where the burst occurred. The experiment verified the predicitons made in the original October 1957 proposal by N. C. Christofilos of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore.


1958 August 30 - . 03:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Atlantic Ocean. Launch Pad: 49.5 S x 8.2 W. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • Argus II Nuclear test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 293 km (182 mi). Summary: Second covert Argus launch to study effect of nuclear explosions on the Van Allen radiation belts. The rocket was launched from vessel AVM1 at 49.5 deg South, 8.2 deg West; altitude reached 294 km; yield of the nuclear warhead, 1.7 kilotons..

1958 September 6 - . 22:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Atlantic Ocean. Launch Pad: 48.5 S x 9.7 W. Launch Platform: AVM1. LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • Argus III Nuclear test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 750 km (460 mi). Summary: Third and final covert Argus launch to study effect of nuclear explosions on the Van Allen radiation belts. The rocket was launched from vessel AVM1 at 48.5 deg South, 9.7 deg West ; altitude reached 750 km; yield of the nuclear warhead, 1.7 kilotons..

1959 March 19 - . LV Family: X-17. Launch Vehicle: X-17.
  • X-17s used for rocket launch of nuclear tests. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Deputy Secretary of Defense Quarles announced that three atomic blasts were secretly fired in space (Project Argus) in 1958, using modified X-17 rockets..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use