||Liftoff of Bumper #8
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.
Photo courtesy of NASA (Photo ID: KSC-66P-0631).