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PGM-11 Redstone

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PGM-11 Redstone

SSM-A14/M8/PGM-11 Redstone
Redstone No. CC-56, Cape Canaveral, Florida, September 17, 1958
Type Surface-to-surface
Short-range ballistic missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1958–1964
Used by United States
Production history
Designer Army Ballistic Missile Agency
Designed 1950–1952
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
Produced 1952–1961
Number built

128 ABMA 27,

Chrysler 101
Variants Block I, Block II
Weight 61,207 pounds (27,763 kg) at ignition
Length 69.3 feet (21.1 m)
Diameter 5.83 feet (1.8 m)

Blast yield 3.5 megatons of TNT (15 PJ) or 500 kilotonnes of TNT (2.1 PJ)
thermonuclear warhead

Engine Rocketdyne North American Aviation 75-110 A-7
78,000 pounds-force (350 kN) thrust at sea level for 121 seconds
Payload capacity 6,305 pounds (2,860 kg)
Propellant ethyl alcohol, liquid oxygen, hydrogen peroxide
Fuel capacity alcohol: 11,135 pounds (5,051 kg), liquid oxygen: 25,280 pounds (11,470 kg), hydrogen peroxide: 790 pounds (360 kg)
57.5 miles (92.5 km) to 201 miles (323 km)
Flight altitude 28.4 miles (45.7 km) peak minimum to 58.7 miles (94.5 km) peak maximum
Boost time 97 seconds to 117 seconds
Speed Mach 5.5 maximum at re-entry interface
Ford Instrument Company ST-80 inertial guidance
Carbon jet vanes, air rudders, spacial air jet nozzles, air vanes
Accuracy 300 metres (980 ft) CEP
guided missile platform launcher M74

The PGM-11 Redstone was the first large American ballistic missile. A short-range surface-to-surface rocket, it was in active service with the U.S. Army in West Germany from June 1958 to June 1964 as part of NATO's Cold War defense of Western Europe. It was the first missile to carry a live nuclear warhead, first detonated in a 1958 Pacific Ocean weapons test, with two tests occurring over a period of 12 days.

A direct descendant of the German V-2 rocket, the missile was the foundation for the Redstone rocket family, It was developed by a team of predominantly German rocket engineers relocated to the United States after World War II as part of Operation Paperclip. Redstone's prime contractor was the Chrysler Corporation.[1]

For its role as a field artillery theater ballistic missile, Redstone earned the moniker "the Army's Workhorse". It was retired by the U.S. in 1964, though in 1967 a surplus Redstone helped launch Australia's first satellite.


US Army field group erecting Redstone missile

A product of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama under the leadership of Wernher von Braun, Redstone was designed as a surface-to-surface missile for the U.S. Army. It was named for the arsenal on April 8, 1952, which traced its name to the region's red rocks and soil.[2] Chrysler was awarded the prime production contract and began missile and support equipment production in 1952 at the newly renamed Michigan Ordnance Missile Plant in Warren, Michigan. The navy-owned facility was previously known as the Naval Industrial Reserve Aircraft Plant used for jet engine production. Following the cancellation of a planned jet engine program, the facility was made available to the Chrysler Corporation for missile production. Rocketdyne Division of North American Aviation Company provided the rocket engines; Ford Instrument Company, division of Sperry Rand Corporation, produced the guidance and control systems; and Reynolds Metals Company fabricated fuselage assemblies as subcontractors to Chrysler. The first Redstone lifted off from LC-4A at Cape Canaveral on August 20, 1953. It flew for one minute and 20 seconds before suffering an engine failure and falling into the sea. Following this partial success, the second test was conducted on January 27, 1954, this time without a hitch as the missile flew 55 miles. The third Redstone flight on May 5 was a total loss as the engine cut off one second after launch, causing the rocket to fall back on the pad and explode. Subsequent tests were completely or partially successful and the Redstone was declared operational in 1955.

Redstone was capable of flights from 57.5 miles (92.5 km) to 201 miles (323 km). It consisted of a thrust unit for powered flight and a missile body for overall missile control and payload delivery on target. During powered flight, Redstone burned a fuel mixture of 25 percent water–75 percent ethyl alcohol with liquid oxygen (LOX) used as the oxidizer. The missile body consisted of an aft unit containing the instrument compartment, and the warhead unit containing the payload compartment and the radar fuze. The missile body was separated from the thrust unit 20 to 30 seconds after the termination of powered flight, as determined by the preset range to target. The body continued on a controlled ballistic trajectory to the target impact point. The thrust unit continued on its own uncontrolled ballistic trajectory, impacting short of the designated target.

The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle was a derivation of the Redstone with a fuel tank increased in length by 6 feet (1.8 m) and was used on May 5, 1961 to launch Alan Shepard on his sub-orbital flight to become the second person and first American in space.[3]


 United States
United States Army
  • 40th Field Artillery Group 1958-1961 – West Germany[4]
  • 46th Field Artillery Group 1959-1961 – West Germany[5]
    • 2nd Battalion, 333rd Artillery Regiment
  • 209th Field Artillery Group – Fort Sill, Oklahoma
    • 4th Bn, 333rd Artillery Regiment

End of service

Redstone production by the Chrysler Corporation was halted in 1961. The 40th Artillery Group was deactivated in February 1964 and 46th Artillery Group was deactivated in June 1964, as Redstone missiles were replaced by the Pershing missile in the U.S. Army arsenal. All Redstone missiles and equipment deployed to Europe were returned to the United States by the third quarter of 1964. In October 1964 the Redstone missile was ceremonially retired from active service at Redstone Arsenal.


From 1966–67, a series of surplus modified Redstones called Spartas were launched from Woomera, South Australia as part of a joint U.S.–United Kingdom–Australian research program aimed at understanding re-entry phenomena. These Redstones had two solid fuel upper stages added. The U.S. donated a spare Sparta for Australia's first satellite launch, WRESAT, in November 1967.

New Hampshire landmark

A Redstone serves as a landmark in Warren, New Hampshire in the center of the village green. It was donated by Henry T. Asselin, who transported the missile from Redstone Arsenal in 1971, then placed in honor of long-time U.S. Senator Norris Cotton, a Warren native. A Redstone also launched another Granite Stater into suborbital flight: Alan Shepard of Derry.[6]




  1. ^ © 2008 Orlando, Florida. Retrieved Oct 8 2010The Chrysler Corporation Missile Division and the Redstone missilesRedgap, Curtis
  2. ^ Cagle, Mary T. (1955). "The Origin of Redstone's Name". US Army, Redstone Arsenal. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Turnill 1972, pp. 81–82, 147–8
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Asselin, Ted (1996). The Redstone Missile - Warren, NH. Warren: Bryan Flagg. 


  • Bullard, John W (October 15, 1965). History Of The Redstone Missile System (Historical Monograph Project Number: AMC 23 M). Historical Division, Administrative Office, Army Missile Command. 
  • The Redstone Missile System. Fort Sill, Oklahoma: United States Army. August 1960. Publication L 619. 
  • Standing Operating Procedure For Conduct Of Redstone Annual Service Practice At White Sands Missile Range New Mexico. Fort Sill, Oklahoma: Headquarters, United States Army Artillery And Missile Center. March 31, 1962. 
  • Operator, Organizational, And Field Maintenance Manual - Ballistic Guided Missile M8, Ballistic Shell (Field Artillery Guided Missile System Redstone). September 1960. TM 9-1410-350-14/2. 
  • Field Artillery Missile Redstone. Department Of The Army. February 1962. FM 6-35. 
  • Turnill, Reginald (May 1972). The  
  • von Braun, Wernher. The Redstone, Jupiter and Juno.  Technology and Culture, Vol. 4, No. 4, The History of Rocket Technology (Autumn 1963), pp. 452–465.

External links

  • The Mercury Redstone Project (PDF) December 1964
  • Redstone from Encyclopedia Astronautica
  • Redstone timeline
  • Boeing: History– Products - North American Aviation Rocketdyne Redstone Rocket Engine
  • Appendix A: The Redstone Missile in Detail
  • Redstone at the White Sands Missile Range
  • 40th Artillery Group (Redstone)
  • 46th Artillery Group (Redstone)
  • Archives: "Redstone Rocketeers"Stars & StripesFrom the
  • Jupiter A
  • The Chrysler Corporation Missile Division and the Redstone missiles
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