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 and Aeronutronics in Glendale. I consisted of a Geiger Counter and Magnetometer, primarily designed to confirm the Van Allen Belt.
Ten Farside rockets were built, but only six launch attempts were made, with only the last two being successful. Earlier attempts failed due to insufficient Helium load of the balloon, which caused the vehicle to be dropped into the sea in the first launch or one or more rocket stages failed to ignite during next three launches in early October. During the two last flights the vehicles were successful, but 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 †