NW039 Jupiter C - Launch vehicle of first man made object recovered from space

In July 1951, Von Braun and his team began to build a large guided missile - Redstone. To power this missile, North American Aviation scaled up a V-2 engine, that burned a liquid oxygen-alcohol fuel. During the powered portion of flight, control of the missile came from carbon vanes located in the engine exhaust and after that from air rudders on the tip of each fin. It was determined that the range and accuracy could be increased if the warhead separated from the booster after engine burnout. The warhead section had four air vanes to control the final trajectory to target after separation.
Developed to test reentry vehicles for the Jupiter missile, the Jupiter C used 11 baby sergeants rockets as a second stage and 3 baby sergeant rockets as a third stage. Other modifications to the Redstone included a new fuel (Hydyne) which increased thrust, and 8 foot increase in tank lenght. The first test flight set a record downrange distance of 3 000 miles.
Prior to each of the three Jupiter C test launches, an Army official would check to make certain that the dummy fourth stage was filled with sand and not rocket propellant. Had any of these test Jupiter C included a live fourth stage, America could have orbited a satellite a full year ahead of the Soviets.