A 37-ft. long 'Bold Orion' ballistic missile, launched from beneath the wing of a B-47?
A 37-ft. long 'Bold Orion' ballistic missile, launched from beneath the wing of a B-47 United States Airforce bomber, October 13, successfully "co-orbited" with "Explorer VI', the American 'paddlewheel' satellite put into space, August 7 this year. It was the first known attempt at a space 'rendezvous' with an artificial earth satellite.
Reports showed the experiment to be a complete success". The missile passed four miles in advance of the satellite as it orbited round the earth.
The 'Bold Orion' a two-stage 37-ft 199-B missile, was slung beneath the B. 47 and flown from Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral, for launching at an altitude of 35,000 feet, while 'Explorer VI' travelled a northeasterly path.
As planned, the missile reached the lowest point of the satellite's orbital path - 150 miles above earth - and co-orbited briefly with the paddlewheel space traveller.
Purpose of the experiment: to check the accuracy of the guidance system. 'bold Orion' was designed for use as a supersonic missile enabling bombers to fire at emery targets without coming within range of anti-aircraft defence. Its range will be 1,000 miles.
The missile was built by the Martin Company, Baltimore, as part of an U.S. Air Force contract to demonstrate the feasibility of firing ballistic missiles from aircraft.
A similar attempt to intercept 'Explorer VI' in September, was postponed because of technical difficulties. Earlier a B-58 launched a missile towards the 'Discoverer V' satellite, but the rocket failed to send back signals. 'Explorer VI' has been relaying back valuable information on radiation and other space properties since it went into orbit.