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Thor-Burner rocket
Function Expendable launch system
Manufacturer Douglas
Country of origin United States
Height 23m (75 ft)
Diameter 2.44m (8 ft)
Mass 50,000kg (110,000 lb)
Stages 2-3
Launch history
Status Retired
Launch sites Vandenberg AFB, LC-4300, LE-6, SLC-10W
Total launches 24
Successes 22
Failures 2
First flight 20 May 1965
Last flight 19 February 1976

The Thor-Burner was an American expendable launch system, a member of the Thor rocket family. It consisted of a Thor missile, with one or two Burner upper stages. It was used between 1965 and 1976 to orbit a number of satellites, most commonly Defense Meteorological Satellite Program weather satellites. Twenty-four were launched, of which two failed. Each launch cost 11.890 million 1985 US Dollars. It weighed 51,810 kg and was 24 metres tall.

Burner 1 and Altair

The Burner 1 stage was an Altair rocket stage as used for the third stage of some Vanguard launch vehicles, but equipped by Boeing with 3-axis control.[1]

This combination was used for six vehicles. The first was launched 1965-01-18 and the sixth 1966-03-30. These were early launches of classified Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellites. One of these launches failed.[2]

Burner 2

The Burner 2 used with the Thor-Burner was the first solid fuel upper-stage vehicle used for general space applications that had full control and guidance capability. The first Burner II flight was on 1966-09-15.[3]


  1. "Thor with a solid fuel top stage". The Satellite Encyclopedia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Douglas SLV-2 Thor / Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) SB-3 Delta". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "History - Jets and Moon Rockets: 1957-1970 - The Boeing Company ... Booster Rockets". Boeing.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>