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In the video Explorer 1 Preparation and Launch around the ten-minute mark the narrator says:

This particular Jupiter C, it’s serial number was 29, and that was coded in the missile. You see on the first stage just below the service structure the letters UE, those are the second, and ninth letters in the word Huntsville.

Is this known to be true? What about the pairs 7/8, 17/18 and 27/28, which would be indistinguishable (within a pair) and would all end in "L"?

Jupiter C coded "UE"

Cued at 09:47

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Yes, that was in fact the code but with one slight change:

H  U  N  T  S  V  I  L  E  X
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0

Redstone was the first (or sole) stage of the Redstone, Jupiter-A, Jupiter-C, and Juno-1 rockets. The HUNTSVILEX code was used during the initial development of the Redstone booster.

Sources:

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  • $\begingroup$ Aha, very nice! And it seems I can't count, otherwise I would have realized that "E" is not the 9th letter in the unmodified spelling. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 26 '18 at 5:28
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    $\begingroup$ The first link is a US government page (and links to the second) but I'm looking for a more authoritative source. $\endgroup$ – Alex Hajnal Dec 26 '18 at 5:29

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