Template:Infobox rocket Private was an experimental rocket developed by the California Institute of Technology on behalf of the United States Army. Tested in two different configurations, it provided the proof of concept that a fin-stabilised ballistic missile was technologically feasible, and led to the development of the Corporal ballistic missile.


The Private program was begun in 1944 as an outgrowth of work by the California Institute of Technology's Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory that had produced the first practical jet-assisted take-off (JATO) rockets.[1] A proposal to adapt the JATO rockets for research into the development of ballistic missiles was accepted, and the first flight of the Private A rocket, developed under the direction of Tsien Hsue-shen,[2] took place in December 1944, conducted at Camp Irwin in California.[3]

Private A was an unguided, fin-stabilised ballistic rocket; it consisted of a JATO unit equipped with cruciform tail fins, and a set of four T22 booster rockets that were jettisoned after launch.[1] This made Private A the first multistage rocket to be flown in the United States.[4]

24 launches of Private A were conducted at Camp Irwin between December 1 and December 16, 1944.[3] The tests were considered successful, Private A proving capable of flights of Template:Convert/round metres (20,000 yd), and in January 1945 full funding for the ballistic missile program was provided, with GALCIT changing its name to Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[1] A new version of Private, Private F, was developed; the rocket was similar to Private A, except an aircraft-like tail assembly was fitted instead of Private A's cruciform fins.[1] A test series of Private F launches was conducted at Fort Bliss in Texas between April 1 and April 13 in 1945;[3] 17 launches were conducted, however none of them were successful, the rocket proving to have serious stability problems;[5] it was determined that while fin stabilisation was workable, a winged missile would require an autopilot.[6]

Following the conclusion of the Private program, the lessons learned were applied to the development of the SSM-A-17 Corporal ballistic missile.[1]

References and notesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Parsch, Andreas (2004). "JPL (GALCIT) Private". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  2. Perrett, Bradley (2008-01-06). "Qian Xuesen Laid Foundation For Space Rise in China". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Template:Cite book
  4. "Corporal History". U.S. Army. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. 
  5. Bluth, John. "Malina, Frank Joseph". American National Biography Online. American National Biography. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  6. Template:Cite book

External linksEdit

  • Private at Encyclopedia Astronautica

Template:Rank rockets

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