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U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle TechnologyViking to Space Shuttle$
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J.D Hunley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813031781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813031781.001.0001

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Viking and Vanguard, 1945–1959

Viking and Vanguard, 1945–1959

(p.10) 1 Viking and Vanguard, 1945–1959
U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle Technology

J. D. Hunley

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses the Viking and Vanguard programs, separate American rocket efforts that contributed importantly to missile and launch vehicle technology, including the use of gimbals for steering. Although only a sounding rocket, the Navy's Viking made direct contributions to launch vehicle technology. It was also the starting point for America's second launch vehicle, Vanguard. Often regarded as a failure, Vanguard did launch more than one satellite. Together with Viking, it pioneered the use of gimbals for steering. In addition, its upper stages contributed significantly to the evolution of launch vehicle technology, since they were converted for use with the Thor-Delta series of space boosters. Additionally, a variant of its third stage was modified for use in the Scout program. This stage of Vanguard (in one of its two versions) pioneered the use of fiberglass cases and itself contributed to upper-stage technology for military missiles.

Keywords:   Viking program, Vanguard program, rocket technology, launch vehicle technology, gimbals, fibreglass cases, missile technology

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