February 2008


In 1944 the Army Ordinace Department and the California Institute of Technology (under the research of Frank Malina) started the developement of the WAC Corporal, America’s first high altitude sounding rocket.The rocket developed from the technology used in the Corporal, a liquid fueled surface to surface missile. The origin of WAC was thought to stand for “Without Attitude Control” since the guidance of the WAC Corporal was by fins only but later investigations have shown that it was a continuance of a custom naming procedure of Army Ranks.First there was the Private, second the Corporal, and then the Sargeant…all missiles. What should they name a sounding rocket? So in keeping with Army rank naming the smaller Sounding rocket was named WAC after Women’s Army Corp. The rocket was boosted by the “Tiny Tim” booster which was used by the Navy in air-launched missiles.The WAC Corporal made it’s first official flight in September 1945. The rocket climbed to an altitude of over 40 miles.
The WAC Corporal had a second life when it was placed on top of a V2 in a project known as the Bumper WAC.

WAC Dimensions

* Diameter: 1 ft (0.30 m)
* Total length: 24 ft (7.34 m) with Tiny Tim 16 ft 2 inches (4.9 m) without

Tiny Tim booster

* Loaded weight: 759.2 lb (344.3 kg)
* Propellant weight: 148.7 lb (67.4 kg)
* Thrust: 50,000 lbf (220,000 N])
* Duration: 0.6 s
* Impulse: 30,000 lbf·s (130,000 N·s)

Wac Corporal sustainer

* Empty weight: 296.7 lb (134.6 kg)
* Loaded weight: 690.7 lb (313.3 kg)
* Thrust: 1,500 lbf (6,700 N)
* Duration: 47 s
* Impulse: 67,000 lbf·s (300,000 N·s)

Collected Links:

A historical video about the WAC Corporal

JPL – the early years

An interesting 50 yr anniversary narrative of the Bumper Program that details the WAC.(PDF)


Model Scale

Scale Drawing

John Cokers Full scale build

Available kits

ASP – MMX, 18mm, 24mm , 18mm with Tiny Tim , 24 to 18mm with Tiny Tim


another in the “Who the Heck” series

paisleyrocketeers30th PRS 30th anniversary launch in 1965

Did the Paisley Rocketeer’s Society start Model Rocketry?

The Paisley Rocketeer’s Society (PRS) was formed by John D. Stewart in 1935 in Scotland. Stewart was inspired by H.G. Wells and the early rocket mail experiments of Gerhard Zucker. The PRS is responsible for many rocketry first. Among them and maybe most sustantial was the first recorded launch of a complex 3 stage rocket. This basic design was continued to be used in early space programs. The Paisley Rocketeer’s Society were know for their research rockets. Each of the research rockets were known by the desigination of R.R.-x. Another possibly great contribution was the Paisley Rocketeer’s Society was the Rocketry education of generations of rocketeers across Great Britian including hosting launch events. Many believe that the Paisley Rocketeer’s Society were the first to promote rocketry as a hobby/sport.


Well it looks like Vern Estes has set up a Youtube account and for the first time(to my knowledge) we have some video documentation of those early years at Estes. John Schutz is filming this nice montage of early Estes memorabilia. You can also visit Vern’s website.

Here it is:

You can visit Vern’s Youtube profile page here

Check out more Classic Rocketry Videos in this post


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