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Preludes to U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle TechnologyGoddard Rockets to Minuteman III$
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J.D Hunley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813031774

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813031774.001.0001

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From Eaton Canyon to the Sergeant Missile: Solid-Propellant Rocket Developments, 1940–1962

From Eaton Canyon to the Sergeant Missile: Solid-Propellant Rocket Developments, 1940–1962

(p.151) 5 From Eaton Canyon to the Sergeant Missile: Solid-Propellant Rocket Developments, 1940–1962
Preludes to U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle Technology

J. D. Hunley

University Press of Florida

This chapter focuses on developments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory after World War II. Until the mid-1950s, the main efforts in the evolution of large surface-to-surface missiles in the United States focused on liquid propellants. This changed in the mid- to late 1950s with the Polaris and Minuteman programs. Those two missiles inaugurated a major shift in ballistic-missile technology away from liquids. After their successful development, most intermediate range and intercontinental ballistic missiles came to use solid propellants, freeing up many liquid-propellant missiles for modification and use as launch vehicles. In the meantime, as an array of achievements in solid-propellant rocket technology prepared the way for the breakthrough that enabled the success of the Polaris and Minuteman, they also led toward the use of solid-propellant boosters for a variety of launch vehicles—notably Titan III, Titan IV, and the space shuttles, but also Scout and upper stages for Delta.

Keywords:   Jet Propulsion Laboratory, rocket technology, rocket development, surface-to-surface missiles, propellants, launch vehicles, Polaris, Minuteman, ballistic missiles

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