PGM-19 Jupiter: Wikis


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Jupiter IRBM mobile missile

The PGM-19 Jupiter was a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) of the United States Air Force, removed from service by April 1963. It was a liquid-fueled (LOX and RP-1) rocket, with one engine producing 667 kN of thrust. Jupiter was America's second MRBM design, after the PGM-17 Thor.

The Saturn I and Saturn IB rockets were manufactured by using a single Jupiter MRBM rocket propellant tank, in combination with eight Redstone rocket propellant tanks clustered around it, to form a powerful first stage launch vehicle.

The Jupiter MRBM was also modified by adding upper stages, in the form of clustered Sergeant rockets, to create a satellite/space probe launch vehicle. This modified Jupiter MRBM was called the Juno II.





In September 1955, Dr. Wernher von Braun, briefing the Secretary of Defense on long range missiles pointed out that a 1,500 mi (2,400 km) missile was a logical extension of the Redstone.

In December 1955, the U.S. Secretaries of the Army and Navy announced a dual Army and Navy program to create a land and sea based MRBM. Because of naval basing, the Jupiter MRBM was designed as a short squat missile to ease handling aboard ships. The Navy withdrew from the project in November 1956 in favor of the solid fuel Polaris missile. Despite the withdrawal of the Navy from the project, the Jupiter MRBM retained its original dimensions. As a result, the Jupiter was too wide to be carried aboard contemporary cargo aircraft.

Later in November 1956, the Department of Defense assigned all land based long range missiles to the U. S. Air Force. The U. S. Army retained battlefield missiles with a range of 200 miles (320 km) or less. The Jupiter MRBM program was transferred to the U. S. Air Force. The Air Force already had its own MRBM, the Thor. The Air Force always looked on the Jupiter MRBM as "not invented here".

There is some name confusion with another U.S. Army rocket called the Jupiter-C. The Jupiter-C is a modified Redstone missile. Redstone missiles were modified by lengthening the fuel tanks and placing small solid fueled upper stages on them. These Jupiter-C rockets were used to perform reentry nose cone test flights and to launch the Americas' early Explorer 1 and Explorer 3 satellites. Jupiter-C rockets were also called Juno or Juno I rockets. See diagram at lower right showing a Redstone, Jupiter-C, Mercury-Redstone and Jupiter MRBM missile.

Biological flights

Space monkey "Gordo" rode a Jupiter IRBM into space in 1958

Jupiter MRBM missiles were used in a series of suborbital biological test fights. On December 13, 1958, Jupiter MRBM AM-13 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida with a U.S. Navy trained South American squirrel monkey named "Gordo" onboard. The nose cone recovery parachute failed to operate and "Gordo" did not survive the flight. Telemetry data sent back during the flight showed that the monkey survived the 10 g (100 m/s²) of launch, 8 minutes of weightlessness and 40 g (390 m/s²) of reentry at 10,000 mph (4.5 km/s). The nose cone sank 1,302 nautical miles (2,411 km) downrange from Cape Canaveral and was not recovered.

Another biological flight was launched on May 28, 1959. Aboard Jupiter MRBM AM-18, were a 7 pound (3.2 kg) American-born rhesus monkey, "Able" and an 11 ounce (310 g) South American squirrel monkey, "Baker". The monkeys rode in the nose cone of the missile to an altitude of 59 miles (96 km) and a distance of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) down the Atlantic Missile Range from Cape Canaveral, Florida. They withstood accelerations 38 times the normal pull of gravity and were weightless for about 9 minutes.[citation needed] A top speed of 10,000 mph (4.5 km/s) was reached during their 16 minute flight.[citation needed] After splashdown the Jupiter nosecone carrying Able and Baker was recovered by the seagoing tug, USS Kiowa (ATF-72).

The monkeys survived the flight in good condition. "Able" died four days after the flight from a reaction to anaesthesia while undergoing surgery to remove an infected medical electrode. "Baker" lived for many years after the flight, finally succumbing to kidney failure on November 29, 1984 at the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Gordo, Able and Baker were just three of many monkeys sent into space.

Military deployment

Deployment locations for Jupiter IRBM missiles in Italy from 1961 to 1963.
864th SMS patch

In April, 1958, the U.S. Department of Defense notified the U.S. Air Force it had tentatively planned to deploy the first three Jupiter squadrons (45 missiles) in France. Negotiations between France and the U.S. fell through in June, 1958. Charles De Gaulle, the new French President, refused to accept the basing of any Jupiter MRBM missiles in France. This prompted United States to explore the possibility of deploying the missiles in Italy and Turkey. The U.S. Air Force was already implementing plans to base four squadrons (60 missiles) - subsequently to be redefined as twenty RAF Squadrons each with three missiles - of PGM-17 Thor IRBMs in Britain on airfields stretching from Yorkshire to East Anglia.

In 1958 USAF activated 864th Strategic Missile Squadron at ABMA. Although the Air Force briefly considered training its Jupiter crews at Vandenberg AFB, California, it later decided to conduct all of its training at Huntsville. In June and September of the same year the Air Force activated two more 865th and 866th.

In April 1959, the Secretary of the Air Force issued implementing instructions to U.S. Air Force to deploy two Jupiter MRBM squadrons to Italy. The two squadrons totaling 30 missiles were deployed at 10 sites in Italy from 1961 to 1963. They were operated by Italian Air Force crews, but U.S. Air Force personnel controlled arming of the nuclear warheads. The deployed missiles were under command of 36ª Aerobrigata Interdizione Strategica (36th Strategic Interdiction Air Squadron, Italian Air Force) at Gioia Del Colle Air Base, Italy.

The USAF thought there was little to be gained in having a mobile IRBM and elected to deploy the missiles at fixed launch sites. A Jupiter squadron consisted of 15 missiles and appx 500 military personnel. There were 5 "flights" of 3 missiles each. Each flight was composed of 5 officers and 10 NCO's.

To reduce vulnerability, the flights were located miles apart. Each flight contained 3 launcher emplacements, each of which separated by a distance of several hundred yards.

The ground equipment for each emplacement was housed in appx 20 vehicles; including 2 generator trucks, a power distribution truck, short- and long-range theodolites, a hydraulic and pneumatic truck and a liquid oxygen truck. Another trailer carried 6000 gallons of fuel and 3 liquid oxygen trailers each carried 4000 gallons.

The missiles arrived at the emplacement on large trailers. Still on the trailer, the crew attached the hinged launch pedestal to the base of the missile. Using a winch, the crews pulled the missiles into upright firing position. Once the missile was vertical, the crews attached fuel lines and encased the bottom third of the missile in a "flower petal shelter" consisting of wedge-shaped metal panels allowing the crews to service the missiles in all weather circumstances.

The missiles were stored on 15 min. combat status in upright position on the launch pad. The firing sequence, which consisted primarily of pumping 68000 pounds of liquid oxygen and 30000 pounds of RP-1 aboard, took about that time. The 3 missiles that comprised each flight were controlled by a Launch Controlling Officer and 2 crewmen in a mobile launch control trailer.

Each squadron was supported by a receipt, inspection and maintenance (RIM) area to the rear of the emplacements. RIM teams inspected new missiles and provided maintenance and repair to missiles in the field. Each RIM area also housed 25-tons of liquid oxygen and nitrogen generating plants. Several times a week, tanker trucks carried the gases from the plant to the individual emplacements.

The actual locations of the launch sites (built in a triangular configuration) were in the direct vicinities of the villages Acquaviva delle Fonti, Altamura (2 sites), Gioia del Colle, Gravina in Puglia, Laterza, Mottola, Spinazzola, Irsina and Matera. As an example the Laterza site can be found on Google Earth at 40°35'43.75"N and 16°51'33.52"E. Knowing what kind of site to look for it is easy to find them all.

In 1962, a Bulgarian MiG-17 reconnaissance airplane was reported to have crashed into an olive grove near one of the US Jupiter missile launch sites in Italy, after overflying the site.

In October 1959, the location of the third and final Jupiter MRBM squadron was settled when the Government to Government agreement was signed with Turkey. United States and Turkey concluded an agreement to deploy one Jupiter squadron on NATO's southern flank.

One squadron totaling 15 missiles was deployed at 5 sites near İzmir, Turkey from 1961 to 1963. They were operated by U.S. Air Force personnel. The first flight of three Jupiter missiles were turned over to the Türk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Force) in late October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. U.S. Air Force personnel controlled arming of the nuclear warheads.

The actual deployment sites missiles in Turkey are still kept secret by the Turkish government, however the Google Earth locations are

  • 38°42'26.68"N and 26°53'4.13"E for site 1
  • 38°42'23.76"N and 27°53'57.66"E for site 2, near Golmarmara
  • 38°50'37.66"N and 27° 2'55.58"E for site 3
  • 38°44'15.13"N and 27°24'51.46"E for site 4
  • 38°47'30.73"N and 27°42'28.94"E for site 5

The central USAF Turkish Tactical Sqn command and logistics base was Cigli Air Force Base.

On four occasions between mid-October 1961 and August 1962, Jupiter MRBM mobile missiles carrying 1.4 megaton of TNT (5.9 PJ) nuclear warheads were struck by lightning at their bases in Italy. In each case, thermal batteries were activated, and on two occasions, tritium-deuterium "boost" gas was injected into the warhead pits, partially arming them. After the fourth lightning strike on a Jupiter MRBM, the U.S. Air Force placed protective lightning strike-diversion tower arrays at all of the Italian and Turkish Jupiter MRBM missiles sites.

By the time that the Turkish Jupiters had been installed, the missiles were already largely obsolete and increasingly vulnerable to Soviet attacks. President John F. Kennedy ordered the removal of all Jupiter MRBMs upon taking office in 1961[citation needed]. The Air Force, however, delayed removal and the President was infuriated to learn that they had not yet been removed more than a year later. All Jupiter MRBM's were removed from service by April 1963, by this point a maneuver useful as a backdoor trade with the Soviets, in exchange for their earlier removal of MRBMs from Cuba.

Jupiter MRBM specifications

Illustration showing differences between Redstone, Jupiter-C, Mercury-Redstone
and Jupiter IRBM.
  • Length: 60 ft (18.3 m)
  • Diameter: 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
  • Total Fueled Weight: 108,804 lb (49,353 kg)
  • Empty Weight: 13,715 lb (6,221 kg)
  • Oxygen (LOX) Weight: 68,760 lb (31,189 kg)
  • RP-1 (kerosene) Weight: 30,415 lb (13,796 kg)
  • Thrust: 150,000 lbf (667 kN)
  • Engine: Rocketdyne LR70-NA (Model S-3D)
  • ISP: 247.5 s (2.43 kN·s/kg)
  • Burning time: 2 min. 37 sec.
  • Propellant consumption rate: 627.7 lb/s (284.7 kg/s)
  • Range: 1,500 mi (2,410 km)
  • Flight time: 16 min 56.9 sec
  • Cutoff velocity: 8,984 mph (14,458 km/h) - Mach 13.04
  • Reentry velocity: 10,645 mph (17,131 km/h) - Mach 15.45
  • Acceleration: 13.69 g (134 m/s²)
  • Peak deceleration: 44.0 g (431 m/s²)
  • Peak altitude: 390 mi (628 km)
  • CEP 4,925 ft (1,500 m)
  • Warhead: 1.45 Mt Thermonuclear W-49 - 1,650 lb (750 kg)
  • Fusing: Proximity and Impact
  • Guidance: Inertial

Juno II launch vehicle specifications

Juno II launch vehicle derived from Jupiter IRBM mobile missile.

The Juno II was a satellite launch vehicle derived from the Jupiter IRBM. It was used for 10 satellite launches. Six of those launches failed. Juno II was a 4-stage rocket. Launched Pioneer 3, Pioneer 4, Explorer 7, Explorer 8, Explorer 11.

  • Juno II Total length: 24.0 m
  • Orbit payload to 200 km: 41 kg
  • Escape velocity payload: 6 kg
  • First launch date: December 6, 1958
  • Last launch date: May 24, 1961
Parameter 1st stage 2nd stage 3rd stage 4th stage
Gross mass 54,431 kg 462 kg 126 kg 42 kg
Empty mass 5,443 kg 231 kg 63 kg 21 kg
Thrust 667 kN 73 kN 20 kN 7 kN
Isp 248 s
(2.43 kN·s/kg)
214 s
(2.10 kN·s/kg)
214 s
(2.10 kN·s/kg)
214 s
(2.10 kN·s/kg)
Burn time 182 s 6 s 6 s 6 s
Length 18.28 m 1.0 m 1.0 m 1.0 m
Diameter 2.67 m 1.0 m 0.50 m 0.30 m
Engine: Rocketdyne S-3D Eleven Sergents Three Sergents One Sergent
Propellant LOX/RP-1 Solid Fuel Solid Fuel Solid fuel

Jupiter MRBM and Juno II launches

All test launches were from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Serial number Mission Launch date Notes
AM-1A AM-1A March 1, 1957 Test Launch 1. Missile test. Failure. Apogee 14 mi (23 km)
AM-1B AM-1B April 26, 1957 Test Launch 2. Missile test. Failure. Apogee 18 mi (29 km)
AM-1 AM-1 May 31, 1957 Test Launch 3. Missile test. Success. Apogee 500 mi (805 km)
AM-2 AM-2 August 28, 1957 Test Launch 4. Missile test. Success. Apogee 500 mi (805 km)
AM-3 AM-3 October 23, 1957 Test Launch 5. Missile test. Success. Apogee 500 mi (805 km)
AM-3A AM-3A November 27, 1957 Test Launch 6. Missile test. Failure. Apogee 20 mi (32 km)
AM-4 AM-4 December 16, 1957 Test Launch 7. Missile test. Failure. Apogee 63 mi (101 km)
AM-5 AM-5 May 18, 1958 Test Launch 8. Reentry test. Success. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)
AM-6B AM-6B July 17, 1958 Test Launch 9. Reentry test. Success. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)
AM-7 AM-7 August 27, 1958 Test Launch 10. Missile test. Success. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)
AM-9 AM-9 October 10, 1958 Test Launch 11. Missile test. Failure. Apogee 0 mi (0 km)
AM-11 Juno II December 6, 1958 Launch 12. Lunar probe. Pioneer 3. Failed to reach moon. Apogee 70,610 mi (113,640 km)
AM-13 Bio 1 December 13, 1958 Launch 13. Bio test flight. "Gordo" the monkey. Parachute failed. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)
CM-21 CM-21 January 22, 1959 Test Launch 14. Tactical test flight. Success. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)
CM-22 CM-22 January 27, 1959 Test Launch 15. Missile test. Success. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)
AM-14 Juno II March 3, 1959 Launch 16. Lunar probe. Pioneer 4. Passed within 58,983 km (probably improperly converted as others were here, unless original was 36,650 mi) of moon. In solar orbit.
CM-22A CM-22A April 4, 1959 Test Launch 17. Missile test. Success. Apogee 345 mi (555 km)

There were 46 test launches in all.

Former Operators


See also

External links


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