The U.S. Navy ASP Rocket

The Asp (Atmospheric Sounding Projectile) was developed by the Cooper Development Co. (CDC) during 1954/1955. It was classified as a single-stage sounding rocket under contract from the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Ships.

The Asp was launched from a monorail launcher, and carried a telemetry transmitter and a payload of about 9-11 kg (20-25 lb). A distinct feature of the rocket were its triangular tail fins which were fitted with flares to aid in optical tracking of the rocket.

The Navy launched 40 Asps during the thermonuclear tests of Operation Redwing between May and July of 1956. The rocket was used for measurements inside the clouds of the nuclear explosions. Some of the Asps were equipped with recovery systems to return cloud material for post analysis. The Asp was also used during Operation Plumbbob from May to October 1957 for supposidly the same purposes. After these firings the single-stage Asp was mated to various boosters for two-stage, high altitude research.

U.S. Navy

Length: 3.89 m (12 ft 9 in)
Diameter: 16.5 cm (20 in)
Finspan: 51 cm (6.5 in)
Weight: 110 kg (245 lb)
Speed: >5630 km/h (3500 mph)
Altitude: 30 km (18.6 miles)
Propellant: Solid
Motor: Grand Central motor; 26kN (5850 lb) for 5.3 sec
Range: 6 miles
First Firing: December 27, 1955

Updated: 7-30-2017

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