View Full Version : No sure what I can make of this pic

2007-Apr-11, 03:37 PM
I've seen a few launch pictures but this appeared this morning in an article about alamogordo and had this picture to illustrate it.


I've never seen such a corkscrew twist on a missile launch, is it an atmospheric effect ?


2007-Apr-11, 03:40 PM
I saw a (probably) Discovery Channel show, (probably) "Future Weapons", where the missile hung around in a corkscrew like that, getting its bearings, before it took off on its destructive mission. There was no rush and accuracy was prime.

Here it is: THAAD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_High_Altitude_Area_Defense). Recognize the characteristic corkscrew in the images?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/81/Tems11.jpg/180px-Tems11.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminal_High_Altitude_Area_Defense)

During test flights at White Sands Missile Range, the missile undergoes the THAAD Energy Management Steering (TEMS) maneuver to burn excess propellant and keep the missile within the test range (see Figure "TEMS contrail" on right).

Sometimes the goofy-looking can be explained by: "I meant to do that."

Larry Jacks
2007-Apr-11, 04:20 PM
Range limitations at White Sands is one reason why they've started testing the THAAD in Hawaii, like the successful test last week (http://www.smdc.army.mil/PubAff/07Press/Hawaii.html). You'll notice on the photo that they didn't need to do the corkscrew maneuver for this launch.