A modified form of the Aerojet AJ-10 second stage of the Vanguard
rocket used as the second stage of the Thor-Able,
Thor-Able Star, and Atlas-Able launch
|Able second stage of a Thor-Able rocket being
set in place prior to launching TIROS I. Credit: US Navy
MISSILES, AND LAUNCH VEHICLES
- An early, ill-fated American lunar program approved by President Eisenhower
on Mar. 27, 1958, and intended to place a satellite in orbit around
the Moon. Project Able became the first lunar shot in history, preceding
even Luna 1, when a Thor-Able took off
at 12:18 GMT on Aug. 17, 1958, before a small group of journalists.
Unfortunately, only 77 seconds into the flight, the Thor's turbopump
seized and the missile blew up. Telemetry from the probe was received
for a further 123 seconds until the 39-kg spacecraft ended its brief
journey by falling into the Atlantic. Although not given an official
name the probe is referred to as Pioneer
0 or Able 1. Before the launch of the second probe the whole program
was transferred to NASA, which renamed it Pioneer.
AND SPACE PROBES
- A rhesus monkey housed in a biocapsule that was sent on a suborbital
flight by a specially-configured Jupiter
missile on May 28, 1959. Able and its companion Baker,
a female squirrel monkey placed in a second biocapsule, became the first
live animals to be recovered after traveling outside Earth's atmosphere.
Able died on Jun. 1, 1959, from the effects of anesthesia given to allow
the removal of electrodes. An autopsy revealed that it had suffered
no adverse effects from its flight.1 See also animals
AND AEROSPACE MEDICINE
- Powell, J. W. "The Flight of Able and Baker." Journal of the British
Interplanetary Society 38 (1985): 94-96.