I'm surprised wikipedia doesn't have a history section for its APCP article. If I'm not mistaken, early solid rockets used something other than APCP, and really really early solid rockets used black powder.

So what was the first large rocket to use APCP in a stage? I thought it might be the Polaris missile (1960), but neither wikipedia nor astronautix describes exactly what kind of solid fuel it uses.

I'm hoping the answer will lead me to the developmental history of this fuel as well.

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    $\begingroup$ Corporate history of Thiokol is v.much relevant here. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


This is by no means a definitive answer, as it appears that an exact "first" is difficult to find.

The earliest reference to a large rocket using ammonium perchlorate that I can find is the Nike Hercules which started using an ammonium perchlorate composite propellant in 1958, according to Perchlorate: Overview of Issues, Status, and Remedial Options prepared by The Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council Perchlorate Team.

Nike Hercules

It appears that John Parsons of Aerojet may have been the first person to start considering the use of ammonium perchlorate in solid rocket fuel around 1944, based on this patent.


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