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  1. #1
    C. Newport's Avatar
    C. Newport Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket

    I have been trying to find drawings or photos of a particular Aerobee
    research rocket without success. In Willy Ley's "Rockets, Missiles, and
    Space Travel" (1959 edition), on page 285, figure 48, is a line drawing of
    an Aerobee having swept-back fins with an overall length of the second stage
    given as 226 inches.

    Does anyone know if this particular design was ever flown (with these
    swept-back fins) and where I might find some photos and/or diagrams?

    I'm just starting to get into high-powered rocketry and am considering
    building a flyable scale model of this particular design configuration.

    C. Newport

  2. #2
    Brett Buck's Avatar
    Brett Buck Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket

    C. Newport wrote:

    Is this the fin arrangement you mean?

    This was used, I beleive, on the 150A, 170, and 200. There was a
    *very, very* nice model of the 150A at the NARAM in 2000 or 20001.

    The Aerobee 350 used fins with more taper, but still swept (and to
    be technical, the standard Aerobee fins were clipped deltas, and thus
    the 1/4 chord line was swept, too).

    As Always (pun intended), "Rockets of the World" is the definitive


  3. #3
    C. Newport's Avatar
    C. Newport Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket


    Yes, the second stage had three very steeply swept back fins, that from the
    visual standpoint, make it a very attractive design. However, I'm not sure
    whether or not this line drawing represents a concept, or a design that
    actually flew. The only image I've been able to find of this particular
    Aerobee was in Ley's book, which I first read when I was 10 years old or so.

    Any help would be appreciated,

    C. Newport

    "Brett Buck" <> wrote in message

  4. #4
    OM's Avatar
    OM Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket

    On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 16:47:04 -0400, "C. Newport" <>

    ....Drat. I thought you were about to go searching for them off the
    Snark-infested waters :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)



    "No bastard ever won a war by dying for |
    his country. He won it by making the other | Sergeant-At-Arms
    poor dumb bastard die for his country." | Human O-Ring Society

    - General George S. Patton, Jr

  5. #5
    Henry Spencer's Avatar
    Henry Spencer Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket

    In article <>,
    C. Newport <> wrote:

    Careful here. Close inspection of the drawing (at least, in my edition of
    the book, which is the slightly later "Rockets, Missiles, and Men in Space")
    reveals that the second-stage fins are almost exactly the same shape as the
    first-stage fins. What seem, at first glance, to be the edges of very long,
    very highly swept fins are, in fact, wire radio antennas running from the
    forward fuselage to the tips of the second-stage fins.

    Peter Alway's "Rockets of the World", 3rd ed, shows the wires in one of
    the several configurations drawn for the "Standard Aerobee", the original
    MOST launched 1015 EDT 30 June, separated 1046, | Henry Spencer
    first ground-station pass 1651, all nominal! |

  6. #6
    G.Beat's Avatar
    G.Beat Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket

    "C. Newport" <> wrote in message

    Curt -

    More than 800 examples of the first Aerobee versions (basic Aerobee,
    Aerobee-Hi and Aerobee 150/150A)
    were built and flown by the U.S. military services and NASA between 1947 and
    (when the last Aerobee 150 was launched by NASA).
    It was the first American general purpose high-altitude sounding rocket.

    Since 1968 Aerojet developed the Aerobee into several significantly enlarged
    like the Aerobee 170, Aerobee 300, Aerobee 350 and the Astrobee family

    As part of historical research a few years ago, I was looking into the
    development of Aerobee and who made significant contributions to some of the

    Specifically Bob Truax and James Van Allen.
    Bob Truax retired as a Navy Captain in 1959, and went to work for Aerojet
    (who developed the Aerobee)
    where he headed the Advanced Development Division until leaving in 1967.
    In 1960 developed a "proof of principle" See Bee rocket from a surplus

    James Van Allen was working with Office of Naval Research launching Rockoon
    (balloon-launched rocket)
    from the USS Staten Island, USS Plymouth Rock & USS Glacier (Glacier was for
    IGY) for military and scientific research.

    Van Allen's contribution appears to have been with the Aerobee-Hi and/or
    Aerobee 150
    (I forgot to ask Jim when I saw him in 1999).

    An e-mail to Bob Truax received a polite reply, but no specifics on his
    contribution to the Aerobee program.

    Some of this is now on Encyclopedia Astronautica

    Since you mentioned a 1959 photo, then it would NOT be later versions
    (Aerobee 170, 200, 350, etc.)

    There are few photos on the Internet of these late 1940s and 1950s launches
    (a historic loss)

    G. Beat

  7. #7
    C. Newport's Avatar
    C. Newport Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket


    Ah yes, now I see what you're talking about. I agree, the drawing is
    deceiving in that what looks like swept back fins, are in fact the antennas
    you're talking about. Now it all makes sense. It was the dimension line
    that threw me.

    Thanks a lot,

    C. Newport

    "Henry Spencer" <> wrote in message

  8. #8
    Rick DeNatale's Avatar
    Rick DeNatale Guest

    Default Aerobee Sounding Rocket

    On Tue, 30 Sep 2003 06:58:46 -0400, C. Newport wrote:

    As you know Curt, sometimes you have to dive a little deeper to ferret out
    the facts! <G>



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