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The Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missile was developed by the Army's Ballistic Missile Agency at the Redstone Arsenal, Ala., under Dr. Wernher von Braun. In 1956, however, the Department of Defense limited the Army's operational employment of missiles to those with less than a 200-mile range, and when the Jupiter became operational in 1959, it was placed under USAF control.
Originally designed as the SM-78, the Jupiter was a single-stage, liquid-propellant missile using an all-inertial guidance system to direct it toward the target. The first test launch of a Jupiter occurred on March 1, 1957, and two months later during the third test, a Jupiter achieved its design range of 1,500 miles. Jupiter squadrons of 15 missiles each were deployed at NATO launch sites in Italy and Turkey in 1961; training for USAF and NATO personnel was carried out at Redstone Arsenal.
Production of Jupiter IRBMs was completed in December 1960. As more advanced missiles were developed, the Jupiter became out-dated, and in 1963 it was withdrawn from military use. Some modified versions of the Jupiter were used as first stage boosters to launch various U.S. space satellites.
The museum has a Jupiter on display in the Missile & Space Gallery.
Note: The B-78 became the SM-78 (Strategic Missile) and later the PGM-19 (Pad launched Ground attack Missile).
Armament: Nuclear warhead
Engine: North American Rocketdyne S-3D liquid rocket engine of 150,000 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 11,500 mph. / 9,993 knots
Maximum range: 1,500 statute miles / 1,303 nautical miles
Maximum altitude: 410 statute miles / 356 nautical miles
Length: 65 ft. 4 in.
Diameter: 8 ft. 9 in.
Weight: 109,000 lbs. at launch
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