NASA History: First Rocket Launched From Cape Canaveral Over 60 Years Ago

By  //  March 6, 2016

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On July 24, 1950, Bumper 8 became the first rocket launched from Cape Canaveral. (NASA Image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In July 1950, Bumper 8 became the first rocket launched from Cape Canaveral.

Launched under the direction of the General Electric Company, the two-stage rocket was composed of a German V-2 missile base which was topped with an American WAC Corporal rocket.

The first-stage, the V-2 missile, reached an altitude of 10 miles, then separated from the second-stage WAC rocket, which travelled an additional 15 miles.

Though the WAC’s main motor never ignited, the launch was still considered successful.

The Bumper rockets, 6 of which launched from White Sands and 2 of which launched from Cape Canaveral, were the first to successfully demonstrate the ignition of a second stage liquid-fueled rocket.

The launch of the Bumper 8 rocket initiated a long tradition of rocketry at Cape Canaveral, which has launched both crewed and uncrewed missions including NASA’s latest planetary mission, New Horizons.

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