Status: Retired 1965. First Launch: 1964-03-24. Last Launch: 1965-02-23. Number: 3 . Thrust: 668.00 kN (150,172 lbf). Gross mass: 55,000 kg (121,000 lb). Height: 26.90 m (88.20 ft). Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Apogee: 75 km (46 mi).
The second flight test of the ASSET reentry vehicle from Cape Canaveral failed when the second stage of the Thor/Delta failed to ignite. The test objectives were not met. Suborbital test of small scale spaceplane model to test materials for the X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-thermodynamic structural test vehicle (ASV) for heat shield tests. Good first stage burn, but the second stage fired, then shut down, repeating the sequence several times. The spacecraft separated, and began to maneuver in a 60 degree bank to recover course, when the self-destruct package blew it apart. The debris impacted the Atlantic 800 km downrange near San Salvador Island.
Aerothermodynamic/elastic Structural Systems Evaluation Test (ASSET) vehicle (ASV-3) was launched down the Eastern Test Range by a Thor booster. The ASV-3 was a boost-glide reentry vehicle that was designed to obtain temperature and pressure distribution data and to test materials and structural concepts during reentry. The vehicle was recovered 1,650 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral after reentering the atmosphere at 13,000 miles per hour and reaching reentry temperatures of 4,000° F. A part of the Spacecraft Technology and Advanced Reentry Tests (START) program managed by Space Systems Division, ASSET provided valuable data on the conditions encountered by a spacecraft during reentry. Suborbital test of small scale spaceplane model to test materials for the X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-thermodynamic structural test vehicle (ASV) for heat shield tests. Launched after four hours of holds. Tested Dynasoar hardware - tungsten nose cap, molbdenum panels with vapor-deposited disilicide, and liquid-cooled double-walled cockpit bathtub panel. Reached 5,500 m/s and recovered near Ascension Island 12 hours after launch.
The Aerothermodynamic/elastic Structural Systems Environmental Test (ASSET) program concluded when a Thor booster launched the last of the experimental vehicles from the Eastern Test Range. The payload reentered down range but was not recovered. Suborbital test of small scale spaceplane model to test materials for the X-20 Dynasoar. Reached 6,000 m/s and 4,350 km range. Tested twelve different kinds of refractory metals and covered with 2000 dots of heat-sensitive paint to characterize thermal profile on reentry. Telemetry indicated that the spacecraft survived reentry, but it evidently sank upon impacting the ocean and could not be recovered as planned.