Bumper #8
Liftoff of Bumper #8 Zoom

It is July 24, 1950, and the launch of Bumper #8 ushers in the Space Age at Cape Canaveral. Only five days earlier, the first launch attempt failed when Bumper #7 misfired. Bumper #8 lifts off from Complex 3, clearing the umbilical tower (a telephone pole) at 9:28 AM. Behind the climbing rocket, we see the mobile service tower (constructed of painter's scaffolding).

The Bumper was a two-stage rocket. The first stage consisted of a captured German V-2 rocket, and the second stage was a U.S. Army WAC-Corporal rocket ("WAC" being an acronym for "Without Any Control"). The first Bumpers were launched from White Sands, New Mexico. The increasing range of the launches prompted the move to Cape Canaveral.

In the foreground is the blockhouse. It was certainly primitive when compared to later blockhouses built at the Cape: this one was constructed of 3/4 inch plywood, and reinforced by sandbags.

Return to the present day
Photo courtesy of NASA (Photo ID: KSC-66P-0631).
Tour home CCAFS map Website map