1950511 0000 Navy

11 May


A Viking missile was successfully launched from USS Norton Sound (AV-11), near Christmas Island, south of Hawaii. It was the first Viking launched from a ship and set a new altitude record for American-built single-stage rockets of 106.4 statute miles.

After special modifications in February and March 1950 at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Norton Sound launched a five ton Viking rocket 11 May in project "Reach". This rocket carried a 500 pound scientific instrumentation package to an altitude of 106.4 miles, and provided additional data on cosmic rays.

Project "Reach" concluded the first phase of Norton Sound's history as a mobile missile launching platform. This first phase was devoted to extending scientific research frontiers and gaining experience prerequisite to firing tactical weapons. The second phase required the application of the resultant knowledge. The newer missiles launched from the ship had a more direct bearing on the future of the Navy's combatant missile capability