Project Hermes (1951 video)

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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Project Hermes

The Hermes project (November 15, 1944 – December 31, 1954), was started in response to Germany's rocket attacks in Europe.[3] Project Hermes was to determine the missile needs of army field forces.

The development of the 25 ft tall Hermes A-1 (CTV-G-5/RV-A-5) rocket was begun by General Electric in 1946. Constructed mostly of steel, it was an American version of the German Wasserfall anti-aircraft missile; the Wasserfall was about 1/2 the size of the German A-4 (V-2).[34][35] Hermes A-1 had one major difference from the Wasserfall. The Peenemünde Nitric Acid/Visol fueled P IX engine was replaced by a General Electric pressure fed 13,500 lb. thrust Liquid Oxygen/Watered Alcohol fueled engine.[36][37] Beginning in 1947, the engine of the A-1 was tested at GE's Malta Test Station in New York.[38] The G.E. engine had a novel fuel injector which had great influence on future engine development in the USA. Combustion instability problems delayed engine development.[39]

Plans to develop Hermes A-1 as an operational surface to air missile were dropped in favor of the more suitable Nike.[41] On 18 May 1950 the Army switched emphasis for Project Hermes to the surface to surface mission. The next day the Hermes A-1 first flew. The launch failed when thrust was lost shortly after lift-off.[40] The second flight failed after 41 seconds when the hydraulic servo covers were burned through by engine exhaust. None of the three subsequent Hermes A-1 flights were totally successful, though "they demonstrated the functional capability of the missile system."[40] Those last three launches achieved apogees of 14 miles.[42]