|Publication Date||January 14, 2017|
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The United States Army has sponsored far fewer launches on the Eastern Range than either the Air Force or the Navy. Only about a tenth of the range's missile and space flights can be attributed to Army programs, versus more than a third sponsored by each of the other services. Nevertheless, numbers seldom tell the whole story, and we would be guilty of a grave disservice if we overlooked the Army's impressive achievements in the development of rocket-powered vehicles, missile guidance systems, and reentry vehicle technologies from the late 1940s onward. Several years of experimental flights were conducted at the White Sands Proving Ground before the Army sponsored the first two ballistic missile launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in July 1950. In June 1950, the Army moved some of its most important guided missile projects from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama. Work began in earnest on the REDSTONE ballistic missile program shortly thereafter. In many ways, the early Army missile programs set the tone for the development of other ballistic missiles and range instrumentation by other military branches in the 1950s. PERSHING missile launches continued at the Cape in the 1960s, and they were followed by PERSHING 1A and PERSHING II launches in the 1970s and 1980s. This study begins with a summary of the major events leading up to the REDSTONE missile program at Cape Canaveral. It includes an overview of RAF Bomber Command's raid against Peenemunde in August 1943 and the U.S. Army's recruitment of Wernher von Braun and his 'hand-picked' team of rocket experts in 1945. It continues with a sketch of the Army's early missile projects at Fort Bliss, Texas, and the recommendations that shaped the REDSTONE missile. The study also provides detailed descriptions of flight performance objectives, missile specifications, launch locations, ground support equipment, range instrumentation, and the results of REDSTONE, JUPITER, JUNO II, PERSHING, PERSHING 1A, and PERSHING II operations on the Eastern Range. It concludes with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed on 8 December 1987 and the dedication ceremony that followed the final INF Treaty inspection at Cape Canaveral in May 2001. The history of Army missiles at the Cape has been a rich one, and we do well to acknowledge and remember it.
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