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Australia’s First Satellite & the Last Redstone

29 Nov 2017, 05:07 UTC
Australia’s First Satellite & the Last Redstone
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For long-time space enthusiasts like myself, the US Army’s Redstone missile figures prominently in the early history of the Space Age (see “Redstone: The Missile That Launched America into Space”). In addition to serving as a battlefield weapon system deployed in Europe after being declared operational on June 1, 1958, the Redstone also served as the basis of the Jupiter-C/Juno I launch vehicle which launched America’s first satellite, Explorer 1, on January 31, 1958. Even after it was retired from its role as a satellite launch vehicle in favor of more capable rockets, in 1959 the Redstone was selected by NASA to launch the Mercury spacecraft on suborbital test flights. In this role it launched the first two Americans into space – Alan Shepard on May 5, 1961 and Virgil Grissom on July 21 (see “A History of Suborbital Crewed Spaceflights“).
A comparison of the Redstone missile variants used by the US. (NASA)
After the Redstone was declared obsolete by the US Department of Defense and officially retired as a weapon system on October 30, 1964, “Old Reliable” (as the Redstone had become known) and its support equipment were subsequently given to museums or scrapped in the coming years (see ...

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