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The McDonnell built ASSET (Aerothermodynamic Elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests) program was a project for reentry heating and structural investigations. Two versions ASSET-ASV (Aerothermodynamic Structural Vehicle) and ASSET-AEV (Aerothermoelastic Vehicle) were built.

Originally the ASSET program was to verify the superalloy heat shield of the X-20 Dyna-Soar. The vehicle's biconic shape and low delta wing were intended to represent Dyna-Soar's forward nose section, where the aerodynamic heating would be the most intense - in excess of an estimated 2200C at the nose cap. After the cancellation of Dyna-Soar, ASSET was continued for general reentry heating and structural investigations, which would help the design of future reusable space vehicles.

The ASSET-AEV vehicles were launched by modified surplus Thor IRBM missiles from Cape Canaveral on single stage Thor-DSV2F versions.

ASSET AEV 1 used the single stage Thor-DSV2F rocket on 27 October 1964. Due to the increased support equipment and experiments in the AEV version, the recovery system was ommited on the AEV version. The flight was successful and good telemetry was received.

ASSET AEV 2 also flew on the single stage Thor-DSV2F rocket on 8 December 1964. Again no recovery was planned. The flight was successful and good telemetry was received.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Lifting Body Reentry Test
Operator: US Air Force (USAF)
Power: Batteries
Orbit: suborbital
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
ASSET-AEV 1 (ASSET 4) N/A 28.10.1964 CC LC-17B * Thor-DSV2F
ASSET-AEV 2 (ASSET 5) N/A 09.12.1964 CC LC-17B * Thor-DSV2F

* = suborbital

Further ASSET missions:

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