In mid-1944, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory embarked on the "Corporal" program to develop a guided ballistic missile.


In 1944 the Army Signal Corps requested a high-altitude sounding rocket. The vehicle subsequently designed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was named the WAC Corporal. It was 12 inches in diameter and 194 inches in length. It was propelled by an acid-aniline motor of 45 seconds duration. It was boosted out of a 100-foot launching tower by a Tiny Tim aircraft rocket. Initial tests were made at White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico in October 1945. The WAC rose more than 40 miles, setting an American record for that time.
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