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Project Pilot

US Navy

Launch Status



Type: Government/Top Secret

The project pilot payloads were small cylindrical satellites. These missions intended to be the first to launch a satellite from an aircraft. They had only a single instrument, a very primitive infrared line scanning device to make IR images of the ground.


Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake

Air launch to Suborbital flight

77 rockets have launched from Air launch to Suborbital flight.

Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Air launch to Suborbital flight


Project Pilot – US Navy

  • Length: 4.4 m
  • Diameter: 0.76 m
  • Launch Mass: 0 T
  • Low Earth Orbit Capacity: 1 kg

The Project Pilot was manufactured by US Navy with the first launch on 1958-07-04. Project Pilot has 0 successful launches and 6 failed launches with a total of 6 launches. The NOTS-EV-1 Pilot, also known as NOTSNIK was an expendable launch system and anti-satellite weapon developed by the United States Navy’s United States Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS).


US Navy – USN

  • Type: Government
  • Abbreviation: USN
  • Founded: 1963
  • Spacecraft: Vanguard 1-3 | Parker Solar Probe
  • Country: USA

The Navy was competed with the Army to put the first American satellite into orbit. Their first two Vanguard missions failed, with the second being a highly publicized failure, as it exploded on the launchpad. They went on to put 3 satellites into orbit but did not beat the Army to be the first. Their work in space continues today largely on military satellites.

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