Prepare for your weekly dose of history, as WDD recaps significant events that took place in the tech and engineering space.
On February 24, 1949 the United States launched its RTV-G-4 Bumper 5 rocket from White Sands, New Mexico. After five failed attempts since May 1948 (due to things like propellant flow interruption and tail explosions), the Bumper 5 became the first US rocket to officially reach outer space, hitting an altitude of 393 km (244 mi).The Bumper Program was inaugurated in 1947 in order to investigate launching techniques for a two-stage missile (and separation of the two stages at high velocity), to investigate high-speed, high-altitude phenomena, and to—well, do what no rocket had ever done before: fly higher and faster.
The Bumper’s 62-foot design combined a V-2 rocket and WAC Corporal sounding rocket. General Electric Company oversaw the program as part of the Hermes project—a US Army Ordnance Corps missile program between 1944 and 1954. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory oversaw design of the Bumper’s second stage and separation system.
The Bumper Program saw eight total rocket flights between 1948 and 1950. The seventh, launched on July 24, 1950, however, became the first-ever rocket to take off from Cape Canaveral.
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