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Viking Number 12

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Undergoing Checkout!

      The Viking high altitude sounding rocket was proposed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) to continue atmospheric research as the supply of V-2 rockets were limited. Ten Vikings built by the Glen L. Martin Co. were flown at White Sands between May 1949 and the end of 1955. The Viking rockets, which retained the V-2 alcohol and liquid oxygen fuel system, were capable of teaching 20,000 pounds of thrust and achieving a maximum altitude of 158 miles. Some Viking design characteristics, several airframes plus the Gantry Crane from LC-35 were taken to Cape Canaveral to become the Vanguard program. Viking number 12 (note the "12" on the fin below the workers) is undergoing final checkout in preparation for launch, which occurred on February 4, 1955. Number 12 was the last Viking ever launched at White Sands.