NASA HISTORY: Bumper 8 V2 Rocket Was First Launch From Cape Canaveral in 1950
By NASA History // June 1, 2019
President Harry Truman signed bill in 1949 for Joint Long-Range Proving Ground at Cape Canaveral
(NASA HISTORY) – The military’s existing rocket launching site, White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, was getting too small for the rockets then being designed to fly safely without possibly impacting civilians.
In 1947, a missile launched from White Sands had gone astray and hadn’t been destroyed by the range safety officer – it impacted near Juarez, Mexico.
No one was hurt, but to avoid further incidents, a launch site with more open space than White Sands was needed.
On May 11, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill which established the Joint Long-Range Proving Ground (LRPG) at Cape Canaveral, Florida, under the management of the U.S. Air Force.
Future long-range missile tests would take place over the Atlantic Ocean.
Just over a year later, the LRPG was ready for its first launch, Bumper 8, a V-2 missile with a WAC Corporal upper stage. The missile is seen in the above image undergoing preparations for launch.
The first launch happened on July 24, 1950, with mixed success. The first stage fired successfully, but the second stage failed.
What is now known as the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the adjacent NASA Kennedy Space Center, has grown dramatically since those first days.
Government and commercial launch vehicles operate a wide variety of services, sending spacecraft into orbit and all around our Solar System.
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