Science: Little Terrapin

Modern high-altitude rockets are not always complex monsters like their ancestral V2. They are steadily growing smaller, simpler and cheaper. This week Republic Aviation Corp. told about a non-military rocket that it is manufacturing for a Defense Department project administered by the University of Maryland. Called the Terrapin (after the university's mascot), it is a two-stage, solid-propellant rocket that climbs 80 miles.

The extraordinary thing about the Terrapin is its small size and simplicity. It is less than 15 ft. long, 6¼ in. in diameter, and weighs only 224 lbs. It has none...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!