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Aerojet General X-8

X-8 Aerobee
Aerojet X-8 rocket
Role Upper Atmospheric Research Vehicle, X-plane
Manufacturer Aerojet General
First flight 2 December 1949[1]
Primary users NACA/NASA
United States Air Force
United States Navy
Number built 108
Variants Aerobee

The Aerojet General X-8 was an unguided, spin-stabilized sounding rocket designed to launch a 150 lb (68 kg) payload to 200,000 feet (61.0 km). The X-8 was later spun off into the prolific Aerobee rocket.


  • Operational history 1
  • Variants 2
  • Specifications (general) 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Operational history

At launch, an 18,000 lbf (80 kN) thrust Aerojet 2.5KS18,000G solid rocket booster fired for 2.5 seconds.[2] After booster jettison, a 2,600 lbf (12 kN) thrust XASR-2 liquid fuel rocket burned for up to 40 seconds (depending on desired apogee).[2][3] The spent rocket then fell back in a ballistic arc, the payload returning to Earth via parachute. The baseline X-8 measured 20.2 ft (6.2 m) in length and measured 5.25 ft (1.6 m) across the fins. A X-8A reached a maximum altitude of 138.4 miles (222.7 km) Another reached a speed of Mach six.[2] The payloads of the X8s varied, averaging about 150 lbs.[2] There were 30 X-8s, 30 X-8As, 1 X-8B, 2 X8-Cs and 3 X-8Ds delivered to the Air Force.[2] The X-8As used a 4,000 lbf (18 kN) thrust AJ 10-25 engine.[2] The X-8B used a 2,600 lbf (12 kN) thrust XASR-2 engine.[2] The X-8Cs had 4,000 lbf (18 kN) thrust AJ 10-25s.[2] The three X-8D with 4,000 lbf (18 kN) thrust AJ 10-25, apparently were never flown.[2]


  • X-8 - 30
  • X-8A - 30
  • X-8B - 1
  • X-8C - 2
  • X-8D - 3

Specifications (general)

Data from The X-Planes: X-1 to X-45[1]

General characteristics
  • Crew: unmanned
  • Length: 20ft 1.5in ()
  • Wingspan: 5ft 3in ()
  • Height: 15in ()
  • Wing area: 36ft² ()
  • Empty weight: 135lb ()
  • Loaded weight: 1,097lb ()
  • Useful load: 150-300lb ()




See also

Related development


  1. ^ a b Miller, Jay (2001). "Aerojet General X-8A, X-8B, X-8C, and X-8D Aerobee". The X-Planes: X-1 to X-45. Hinckley, UK: Midland.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Miller, Jay, The X-Planes, 1988, Arlington, Texas: Aerofax,Inc., ISBN 0-517-56749-0, page 80
  3. ^ "Aerojet General RM-84/PWN-2 Aerobee-Hi(and earlier Aerobee variants)". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 

External links

  • Aerojet General RM-84/PWN-2 Aerobee-Hi (and earlier Aerobee variants)
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