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RADAR AND OPTICAL OBSERVATIONS ON REENTRY OF THE TRAILBLAZER I (D-58) TEST VEHICLE OF MARCH 29, 1960
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH LEXINGTON LINCOLN LAB
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The Trailblazer I-a vehicle was observed by the Wallops Island S-band tracker and the UHF Millstone Hill radar. The vehicle malfunctioned during or after the firing of the 4th stage T-40 motor. The Wallops Island S-band radar tracked the T-40 and observed the reentry into the atmosphere at a velocity of 8,500 fps. This reentry was simultaneously observed by Millstone over the altitude region of 328,000 ft to 179,000 ft. Subsequent to T-40 firing and prior to the event above, the Millstone radar obtained a short track on a target different from the T-40. Definitive identification of this target is not possible. The most probable identification is the T-55 fifth stage rocket motor. No visual or photographic observations of a luminous reentry were obtained. A series of short duration quasi-periodic spikes observed during the deceleration of the probable T-40 is described. Author
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