NW034 1/144 Thor Able - Pioneer 1 LV
The Thor missile program was initiated in December 1954, when
USAF headquarters issued requirement for a tactical missile
intended to travel a distance of between 1 150 and 2 300 miles.
Thor was undertaken as a high-risk program having the goal of
achieving flight within the shortest possible time. The Thor had
its first complete launch pad test in January 1957 and a
full-range flight test in September 1957.
The USAF and Douglas developed Thor-Able, consisting of a Thor IRBM 1st stage and a Vanguard 2nd stage, to test heat shield for Atlas ICBM. After 3 flights in 1958, THor-Able was upgraded for a lunar mission (additional solid fuel 3rd stage).
Pioneer 1 lunar probe was launched on October 11, 1958. The spacecraft failed to reach the Moon and reentered atmosphere after 43 hours. Next 2 Pioneer spacecrafts were launched, but both did not reach The Moon.
On April 1, 1960, Thor-Able II orbited Tiros 1. This first weather satellite transmitted 22 950 photographs of cloud patterns and discovered the spiral organization of weather systems.