|Function|| Sounding rocket |
|Country of origin||United States|
|Launch sites|| CCAFS LC-17 |
Johnston Atoll LE-1 & LE-2
The Thor DSV-2 was a series of sounding rockets, test vehicles, and anti-satellite weapons derived from the Thor Intermediate-range ballistic missile. It was also used as the first stage of several Thor-derived expendable launch systems
A sounding rocket, sometimes called a research rocket, is an instrument-carrying rocket designed to take measurements and perform scientific experiments during its sub-orbital flight. The rockets are used to carry instruments from 30 to 90 miles above the surface of the Earth, the altitude generally between weather balloons and satellites; the maximum altitude for balloons is about 25 mi (40 km) and the minimum for satellites is approximately 75 mi (121 km). Certain sounding rockets have an apogee between 620 and 930 miles, such as the Black Brant X and XII, which is the maximum apogee of their class. Sounding rockets often use military surplus rocket motors. NASA routinely flies the Terrier Mk 70 boosted Improved Orion, lifting 600–1,000-pound (270–450 kg) payloads into the exoatmospheric region between 60 and 125 miles.
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations possess operational ASAT systems, with others in development or design. Although no ASAT system has yet been utilised in warfare, several nations have shot down their own (defunct) satellites to demonstrate their ASAT capabilities in a show of force.
Thor was the first operational ballistic missile deployed by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Named after the Norse god of thunder, it was deployed in the United Kingdom between 1959 and September 1963 as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with thermonuclear warheads. Thor was 65 feet (20 m) in height and 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter. It was later augmented in the U.S. IRBM arsenal by the Jupiter.
The DSV-2D was launched twice in 1962, conducting suborbital research flights for the development of the Program 437 ASAT. It was a single-stage vehicle, consisting of a Thor DM-21. Launches were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17A
Program 437 was the second anti-satellite weapons program of the U.S. military. The US anti-satellite weapons program began development in the early 1960s and was officially discontinued on 1 April 1975. Program 437 was approved for development by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on November 20, 1962, after a series of tests involving high altitude nuclear explosions. The program's facilities were located on Johnston Island, an isolated island in the north central Pacific Ocean.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) is an installation of the United States Air Force Space Command's 45th Space Wing.
The DSV-2E was a single-stage vehicle, using a Thor DM-19. It was launched eight times in 1962, including several nuclear weapons tests as part of Operation Fishbowl. Three launches failed, all of which were carrying live nuclear warheads. Launches were conducted from Launch Emplacements 1 and 2 on Johnston Atoll.
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or from a combination of fission and fusion reactions. Both bomb types release large quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first test of a fission ("atomic") bomb released an amount of energy approximately equal to 20,000 tons of TNT (84 TJ). The first thermonuclear ("hydrogen") bomb test released energy approximately equal to 10 million tons of TNT (42 PJ). A thermonuclear weapon weighing little more than 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg) can release energy equal to more than 1.2 million tons of TNT (5.0 PJ). A nuclear device no larger than traditional bombs can devastate an entire city by blast, fire, and radiation. Since they are weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a focus of international relations policy.
Johnston Atoll, also known as Kalama Atoll to Native Hawaiians, is an unincorporated territory of the United States currently administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Johnston Atoll is a National Wildlife Refuge and is closed to public entry. Limited access for management needs is only by Letter of Authorization from the U.S. Air Force and Special Use Permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The DSV-2F was a single-stage vehicle consisting of a Thor DM-19, like the DSV-2E. Three were launched between 1963 and 1964, as part of Project ASSET, which involved launching a sub-scale mockup of the X-20 Dyna-Soar to test materials for the larger spacecraft. Launches were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17B
The DSV-2G was a two-stage rocket, consisting of a Thor DM-19 first stage, and a Delta second stage. Three were launched between 1965 and 1965 as part of Project ASSET. Launches were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17B
The DSV-2J was an operational nuclear anti-satellite weapon. 18 were launched between 1964 and 1975. Most flights were non-intercept tests of the rocket's anti-satellite capabilities, however some later launches carried research payloads. Launches were conducted from Launch Emplacements 1 and 2 on Johnston Atoll.
The Thor-Able was an American expendable launch system and sounding rocket used for a series of re-entry vehicle tests and satellite launches between 1958 and 1960. It was a two stage rocket, consisting of a Thor IRBM as a first stage and a Vanguard-derived Able second stage. On some flights, an Altair solid rocket motor was added as a third stage. It was a member of the Thor family and an early predecessor of the Delta.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 17 (SLC-17), previously designated Launch Complex 17 (LC-17), was a launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida used for Thor and Delta rocket launches between 1958 and 2011.
The Delta G, or Thor-Delta G was an American expendable launch system used to launch two biological research satellites in 1966 and 1967. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta E, or Thor-Delta E was an American expendable launch system used for twenty-three orbital launches between 1965 and 1971. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Thor-Ablestar, or Thor Able-Star, also known as Thor-Epsilon was an early American expendable launch system consisting of a PGM-17 Thor missile, with an Ablestar upper stage. It was a member of the Thor family of rockets, and was derived from the Thor-Able.
The Thor DSV-2U or Thor LV-2F Star-37XE Star-37S-ISS was an American expendable launch system used to launch five DMSP weather satellites between 1976 and 1980. It was a member of the Thor family of rockets, and a derivative of the Thor DSV-2.
The Thor-Delta, also known as Delta DM-19 or just Delta was an early American expendable launch system used for 12 orbital launches in the early 1960s. A derivative of the Thor-Able, it was a member of the Thor family of rockets, and the first member of the Delta family.
The Delta A, or Thor-Delta A was an American expendable launch system used to launch two Explorer spacecraft in October 1962. A derivative of the Thor-Delta, it was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta B, or Thor-Delta B was an American expendable launch system used for nine orbital launches between 1962 and 1964. A derivative of the Thor-Delta, it was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta C, or Thor-Delta C was an American expendable launch system used for thirteen orbital launches between 1963 and 1969. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta D, Thrust Augmented Delta or Thor-Delta D was an American expendable launch system used to launch two communications satellites in 1964 and 1965. It was derived from the Delta C, and was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta L, Thor-Delta L, or Thrust-Augmented Long Tank Thor-Delta was a US expendable launch system used to launch the Pioneer E and TETR satellites in 1969 (failed) and HEOS satellite in 1972. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta M or Thor-Delta M was an American expendable launch system used for thirteen orbital launches between 1968 and 1971. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta N or Thor-Delta N was an American expendable launch system used for nine orbital launches between 1968 and 1972. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets, and the last Delta to be given an alphabetical designation - subsequent rockets were designated using a four digit numerical code.
The Delta 2000 series was an American expendable launch system which was used to conduct forty-four orbital launches between 1974 and 1981. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets. Several variants existed, which were differentiated by a four digit numerical code.
The Delta 1000, 2000 and 3000 series used surplus NASA Apollo program rockets engines for its first and second stages.
Launch Complex 18 (LC-18) is a launch complex at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida that was active during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was used by Viking, Vanguard, Thor and Scout rockets. The complex consists of two launch pads, LC-18A, which was originally built by the US Navy for the Vanguard rocket, and LC-18B, which was originally by the US Air Force used for tests of the PGM-17 Thor missile.
Project SAINT was a project undertaken by the United States during the Cold War to develop a means of intercepting, inspecting and destroying Soviet spacecraft. Many details relating to the project are still classified. The order to launch the SAINT could only be given by the NORAD commander-in-chief, and presumably, anyone higher ranked than them. Developed during the late 1950s and early 1960s, the project was heavily over budget by the time it was cancelled in late 1962. As a result of advances in countermeasures on Soviet satellites, alongside the development of cheaper anti-satellite methods, the concept was rendered unsuitable.