Instrumentation in Action...

A civilian worker tracks a missile flight on an Askania GTK-40 instrument in the late 1940s.

In the earliest days of missile testing and tracking flights, instrumentation was very basic. You can see the first views of the edge of earth's atmosphere ever recorded in this footage of an early launch of a V-2 rocket from October 1946. The images excited scientists around the world and fueled further interest in rocket and missile testing. With increased testing came a greater need for improved instrumentation to track and record rocket and missile tests.

In two short decades, instrumentation became a complicated and essential system for improving missile technology as is seen in this newsreel footage. Not only were the instruments themselves improved but an entire network of complementing technologies was developed to dramatically improve missile accuracy.

1960s 1946