Army Ballistic Missile Agency

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About Army Ballistic Missile Agency

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The Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) was the agency formed to develop the US Army's first intermediate range ballistic missile. It was established at Redstone Arsenal on February 1, 1956 and commanded by Major General John B. Medaris with Doctor Wernher von Braun. In the March, 1958 ABMA was placed under the new Army Ordnance Missile Command (AOMC) along with Redstone Arsenal, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, White Sands Proving Ground and the Army Rocket and Guided Missile Agency (ARGMA). General Medaris was placed in command of AOMC and BG John A. Barclay took command of ABMA. The Redstone missile was the first major project assigned to ABMA. After the US Naval Research Laboratory's Project Vanguard was chosen by the DOD Committee on Special Capabilities, over the ABMA's proposal to use a modified Redstone ballistic missile as a satellite launch vehicle, ABMA was ordered to stop work on satellites and focus, instead, on intermediate missiles. Von Braun, disobeying orders, continued work on the design for what became the Jupiter-C IRBM. This was a three-stage rocket, which, by coincidence, could be used to launch a satellite in the Juno I configuration. In September 1956, the

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