Alpha Draco
Alpha Draco Zoom

The Alpha Draco was a boost-glide research rocket developed by McDonnell Aircraft in 1957. This two-stage vehicle was topped with an unpowered reentry vehicle, and was used to investigate the feasibility of a boost-glide missile.

The two solid boosters would loft the reentry vehicle to 100,000 ft. On its way down, the reentry vehicle would reach speeds in excess of Mach 5 before plummeting to the ground approximately 240 miles downrange from its launch point.

Only three Alpha Draco launches were attempted at Cape Canaveral; all were in 1959, and all took place at Complex 10. Two of the launches succeeded.

As you can see in the photo to the left, the Alpha Draco was launched from a mobile trailer (originally developed for the Honest John missile). The mobile service tower is visible to the left, in its retracted launch position.

The only hard structure evident in the photo at left is a wall. It was razed to make way for Complex 31, though the foundation may still be seen today.

Alpha Draco specifications and performance
Length 46 ft., 1 in. Diameter 31 in.
Stage Engine(s) Propellant(s) Thrust
1 1 Thiokol TX-20 Solid 50,000 lbs.
2 1 Thiokol TX-30 Solid 12,300 lbs.

Return to Complex 10
Photo courtesy of Boeing
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