|Thor Burner 1 - |
Credit: US Air Force. 17,059 bytes. 144 x 450 pixels.
Thor IRBM with no upper stage.
Launches: 3. Failures: 0. Success Rate: 100.00% pct. First Launch Date: 18 September 1963. Last Launch Date: 08 December 1964. Liftoff Thrust: 68,040 kgf. Total Mass: 49,340 kg. Core Diameter: 2.4 m. Total Length: 22.0 m. Development Cost $: 500.00 million. Launch Price $: 4.93 million. in 1985 price dollars. Total Development Built: 64. Total Production Built: 160. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 0.75 million. in 1958 unit dollars.
President Eisenhower assigned highest priority to ICBM and Thor and Jupiter IRBM programs.
First attempted test flight of USAF Thor IRBM, only 13 months after first production contracts were signed, failed to launch.
Douglas Thor IRBM (XSM-75) was launched at Cape Canaveral, Fla., destroyed by range safety officer. The missile was actually on course throughout its flight. The console wiring error led the range safety officer to believe it was headed inland rather than out to sea, so he hit the destruct button.
Complete USAF Thor IRBM first successfully launched from Cape Canaveral. Dummy Warhead sent to 1800 km range.
Thor missile launched at Cape Canaveral, the second tested, achieved its designed 1,500-mile range.
Stripped down Thor long-range flight test successful from AMR, impacting 4400 km downrange.
Thor and Jupiter IRBM's ordered into production for ultimate deployment by the USAF.
A Thor missile, the eighth tested and the fourth successfully, completed the first fully-guided Thor IRBM flight using an all-inertial guidance system.
Strategic Air Command assigned responsibility for U.S. operational ICBM capability; while the 672nd Strategic Missile Squadron, first to be equipped with USAF Douglas Thor IRBM, was activated.
Thor IRBM successfully fired from Cape Canaveral, flew prescribed course, and impacted in preselected area.
|Thor - Thor - COSPAR 1965-021|
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Two Thor shots, one from Cape Canaveral and one from Vandenberg AFB, were successful. Intermediate range ballistic missile portion of PMR was inaugurated with successful firing of USAF Thor from Vandenberg AFB.
Integrated Weapon System Training 1. First Thor IRBM launched by British crew at Vandenberg AFB.
Fourth recovery of a data capsule at AMR, USAF Thor 1,500-mile accuracy test flight.
USAF Thor data capsule recovered near Antigua which contained movie film showing nose cone separation.
|Thor - Thor - COSPAR 1965-003|
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Discoverer XXXII was placed into polar orbit; its capsule contained components of USAF satellite systems. This marked the 100th successful firing of the Thor booster rocket.
Initial attempt to launch a live nuclear weapon using the Thor IRBM from Johnston Atoll. The range safety radar had been unreliable before launch,. Five minutes after launch, after shutdown of the booster, the Johnston missile tracking system failed. Unable to monitor the warhead's flight path, the range safety officer destroyed it 10 minutes later, prior to warhead detonation.
|Thor Burner 2A - Thor Burner 2A - COSPAR 1975-043|
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Attempted test of the Thor IRBM with a live W-49 nuclear warhead / Mk. 4 Re-entry vehicle. The rocket's engines shut down 59 seconds after launch. Range safety destroyed the vehicle six seconds later at an altitude of 10 km. The warhead's one-point safe high explosive detonated as designed without producing nuclear yield. Large pieces of the missile fell back on Johnston Island. Other wreckage was found on Sand Island, which was also contaminated by plutonium from the warhead.
Successful high-altitude test of a Thor IRBM with a live nuclear warhead. The payload included test instrumentation and a W-49 warhead/Mk-4 re-entry vehicle. The 1.45 megaton bomb exploded at an altitude of 400 km. The explosion was visible 2,600 km away, at Kwajalein Atoll; an artificial aurora lasted seven minutes. The unforeseen and most militarily significant effect was the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by the test. This caused power mains surges in Oahu, knocking out street lights, blowing fuses and circuit breakers, and triggering burglar alarms (and this in the days before microelectronics). The explosion supercharged the Van Allen radiation belts, resulting in several satellites malfunctioning.
Second attempt to launch a nuclear weapon using the Thor IRBM. The payload consisted of two re-entry vehicles, one with an instrument pod, the other with the warhead. The missile engine malfunctioned immediately on ignition,. Range safety fired the destruct system whille the missile was still on the launch pad. The Johnston Island launch complex was heavily damaged and contaminated with plutonium. Three months of repairs and decontamination were necessary before tests could resume.
The third attempt to launch a nuclear warhead using a Thor IRBM. At 86 seconds after launch a booster failure occurred and the missile began tumbling. Range safety destroyed the errant booster at 156 seconds after launch. Some radioactive fallout from the warhead was detected on Johnston Atoll.
|Thor - Thor-Burner 2 - COSPAR 1967-065|
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A Thor IRBM was used to launch a Mk 4 Reentry Vehicle containing a 186 kg W-50 nuclear warhead of either 200 or 400 kilotons yield. The detonation occurred at an altitude of 98 km, 69 km SSW of Johnston Atoll, and resulted in dramatic aurora-like effects visible as far away as Hawaii. More notably, the explosion had a massive effect on the ionosphere which disrupted radio communications over the entire central Pacific for three hours.
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-thermodynamic structural test vehicle (ASV) for heat shield tests. Booster flew to peak altitude of 62 km, then pitched down, driving the spacecraft to separation at 59 km and 4,906 m/s. The spacecraft was sited under its parachute in the recovery zone at Ascension Island, but the flotation bag broke and it sank into the Atlantic.
Program 437 was America's second operational anti-satellite system. It was launched on sub-orbital trajectories by Thor LV-2Dís operated by the U.S. Air Force from Johnson Atoll. The Program 437 Thor could hit satellites up to 700 km altitude using a Mk. 49 nuclear warhead with an 8 km kill radius.
The system had a two week reaction time - the missiles and nuclear warheads were stored in kits at Vandenberg and had to be deployed to the Johnson Atoll launch site.
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-environmental test vehicle (AEV) to test aerodynamic properties of flexing outer skin with corrugated columbium panel. Reached 4,000 m/s at 50.6 km altitude before being released from launch vehicle. Telemetry received for 900 seconds until spaceplane had reached Mach 2 1200 km downrange. It then became unstable and crashed into the Atlantic. Recovery was not planned.
Suborbital test of subscale model of X-20 Dynasoar. Aero-environmental test vehicle (AEV) to test aerodynamic properties of flexing outer skin with corrugated columbium panel. Reached 4,000 m/s at 53.2 km altitude before being released from launch vehicle. Telemetry received for 900 seconds until spaceplane had reached Mach 2 1200 km downrange. It then became unstable and crashed into the Atlantic. Recovery was not planned.
Final mission of the Thor/Altair from Vandenberg AFB (first launch on 18 January 1965).