Regulus Rocket Mail

On June 8th 1959 the crew of the USS Barbero prepared for a launch of a Regulus Cruise Missile. The Regulus cruise missile was a ship or submarine launched turbojet powered and nuclear armed missile used between 1955 and 1964. The cruise missile was prepped and coordinates were mapped to the target. The target for this launch was Naval Station Mayport in sunny Jacksonville Florida.

Wait, you ask….Naval Station Mayport in sunny Jacksonville Florida? Yes, Naval Station Mayport in sunny Jacksonville Florida.

There was a small change made to the cruise missile.The nuclear warhead had been removed earlier and been replaced with two Post office mail bins.

Earlier the US Post Office at officially opened a post office branch on the Barbero. The Barbero under her new commander Robert Blount had left Norfolk, Va with some 3000 pieces of mail and traveled to a position somewhere off the northern Florida coast. The Regulus was prepped and fired. It roared out of the ocean being boosted by its powerful solid rockets. It flew under its turbo-jet engine for approximately 22 minutes before striking its delivery target at Naval Station Mayport.

The US Postmaster General at that time was General Arthur E. Summerfield. After witnessing the delivery he was quoted saying:
“This peacetime employment of a guided missile for the important and practical purpose of carrying mail, is the first known official use of missiles by any Post Office Department of any nation.Before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.”

But rocket mail was not meant to be. The cost of the missile could not be justified and basic airplane based air mail became the solution that won the day.

A paper model by Eric Truax of the Regulus cruise missile can be found here


image credit:wikipedia

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360 view of F9 first stage Landing

Wow! I can’t stop watching.

The interactive 360 video of F9 first stage landing is a video for the ages.

*use mouse on computer or tilt move phone for 360 experience
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Parawing or parafoil recovery

Back in the early 60s NASA Gemini engineers did not expect spacecraft to continue to fall from a chute into the ocean like the Mercury program. They began to look at other ideas like the inflated paraglider based on the Rogallo wing. Early successful test of Aerobee rockets gave this idea some merit. The Parasev rigid parasail was constructed to test runway landings .

After that North American was tasked in building the TTV test vehicle. On return through the Earth’s atmosphere Gemini spacecraft would deploy an inflatable paraglider wing, which was stowed away within the Gemini spacecraft. Once deployed the astronauts would fly the capsule down to a runway landing.

Watch this video on TTV-1

But what about model rockets?
I was interested in this as an alternate means of recovery.

During research I came across the interesting 1987 patent:


I would like to test a Parawing or Parafoil type recovery in a small rocket that fully recovers with Parawing or Parafoil and maybe build a Gemini model in which the capsule returns using Parawing. As the Gemini engineers envisioned.

Here is a great Parafoil chute for such a project

 There are many Parawing boost gliders plans and kits. I am looking to see if I could use one and modify for recovery.

Here is an old model plan from CMR for the PW-11 which is a Parawing boost glider

QCR Flex Wing

(scroll down to Flex Wing)

And last but not least. Apogee’s Tim Van Milligan’s great video instructions on building a Rogallo Wing Glider

Perhaps I can modify this to be the small rocket’s recovery system.
Has anyone tried this?
and for inspiration a video of a capsule test in 1963 gliding back from a plane drop. 


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Magnetically levitated rocket-powered sled


The U.S. Air Force just broke the land speed record for a magnetically levitated vehicle. The rocket propelled sled zipped down the 2,100 foot track at 633 miles per hour. The feat was accomplished at Holloman AFB by the 846th Test Squadron on March 4th 2016.

Full Video can be found here

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A.S.P. and paper model


The A.S.P. (Atmospheric Sounding Rocket) was developed to sample the mushroom clouds of nuclear blast.The rocket was launched from a monorail rocket launcher. An interesting feature of the rocket was it’s low aspect fins. It was first launched in December 1955. The rocket was later combined with a Nike as the Nike-ASP configuration.

Full scale:
length 3.89m = 12' 9"
finspan 51cm = 20"
diam 16.5cm = 6.5"
Nose cone (conical configuration) 34"

PDF Scale Drawing can be found here

Downscaled A.S.P. Paper Model by Chris Michielssen
this model requires a BT-5 Nosecone (Paper versions of BT-5 can be found here)


Download: Downscale_ASP

See more of Chris’s downscales in the Partial Paper Rocket section

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New Paper Rockets: Jolly Roger and MicroMax

Here are a few new paper rockets for your enjoyment. Both of these are created by John Dawson. Both are based on the Der Red Max and both require BT5 nose cones or you can use the paper BT5s provided on my Partial Paper Rocket page.

Here is the Jolly Roger

Here is the MicroMax


Jolly Roger and Micro Max Gluing instructions
Jolly Roger final layout

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Barge Landing GIF

I have created a GIF of the OCISLY Barge landing photos.


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