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Farside Rocket being loaded into the balloon

USAF Project Farside was an early attempt to reach very high altitudes (6437 km). Aeronutronic Systems built the vehicle.

The rocket was launched by a balloon at high altitude. The vehicle itself consisted of a cluster of four Recruit as stage one, one Recruit as stage 2, a cluster of 4 Arrow-2 as stage 3 and finally one Arrow-2 as stage 4. The balloon carried the Farside rocket in a suspended vertical aluminum structure below the balloon. At an altitude of 30 km, the rocket was fired straight through the balloon.

The launches carried instrumentation provided by the University of Maryland. Six launch attempts were made, but only the last two were successful. Earlier attempts failed as the cold at high altitude shattered the balloon in the first launch or several stages failed to ignite. During the two last flights, the payload malfunctioned.

Version Launch Assist Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4
Farside Balloon 4 × Recruit Recruit 4 × Arrow-2 Arrow-2
No:     Serial: Type:           Date:         LS    Payload

 1              Farside         25.09.1957 F  En  * Farside 1
 2              Farside         03.10.1957 F  En  * Farside 2
 3              Farside         07.10.1957 F  En  * Farside 3
 4              Farside         10.10.1957 F  En  * Farside 4
 5              Farside         20.10.1957    En  * Farside 5
 6              Farside         21.10.1957    En  * Farside 6

Launch sites:

En  = Eniwetok Proving Grounds (EPG), Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands Marshall Islands


  • Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960