Saturday, May 2, 2015

Retro Saturday: Redstone at White Sands

Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: jkrspecnet YouTube channel.

This week's Retro Saturday is a 1959 documentary by the U.S. Army Signal Missile Support Agency called, Redstone at White Sands.

The 18-minute film is set in early 1959 and shows how the Army used the Redstone as a weapon.

Human spaceflight fans are more familiar with the Redstone as the launch vehicle for Project Mercury suborbital flights. The chimpanzee Ham, followed by humans Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom, all launched on Redstones from Pad 5 at Cape Canaveral.

But the Redstone was originally a short-range ballistic missile, designed by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) for deployment in West Germany. Depending on the weight of its payload, the Redstone had a range of about 50 to 200 miles.

The Redstone is a direct descendant of the German V-2. Both were developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and his ABMA team at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

At the time of this film, the Army was about to end its involvement with long-range missiles.

The ABMA, along with White Sands, the Redstone Arsenal, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena were all grouped in 1958 under the new Army Ordnance Missile Command. In 1960, AOMC and most of its employees were transferred to NASA.

The Redstone missile itself remained property of the U.S. Army, which provided the Redstones to NASA.

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