This Thor-Able I launcher paper model is designed by Eric Truax and Niels Jahn Knudsen. The Thor-Able was an American expendable launch system and sounding rocket used for a series of re-entry vehicle tests and satellite launches between 1958 and 1960. It was a two stage rocket, consisting of a Thor IRBM as a first stage, and a Vanguard-derived Able second stage. On some flights, an Altair solid rocket motor was added as a third stage. It was a member of the Thor family, and an early predecessor of the Delta.
Sixteen Thor-Ables were launched, nine on sub-orbital re-entry vehicle test flights, and seven on orbital satellite launch attempts. Six launches resulted in failures, however three of those failures were the result of an Altair upper stage added to the rocket to allow it to launch the spacecraft onto a trans-lunar trajectory. All sixteen launches occurred from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17A.
On October 11, 1958, Pioneer 1 became the first spacecraft launched by NASA, the newly formed space agency of the United States. The flight was the second and most successful of the three Thor-Able space probes.
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