The Daily Mining Gazette, December 8th, 1965


The University of Michigan’s Rocket project on Keweenaw Point cane to a successful conclusion after some three weeks of launching plans Tuesday afternoon when a series of four missiles were sent aloft.

All projectiles went into the skies according to plan save No. 3 which had to be given a second impulse after adjustment on its angles.

According to Dr. Harold Allen of the U. of M., director of the project, the projectiles went into the air in the vicinity of the site about 22,000 feet. It was expected that the distance over the water would be approximately nine thousand feet.

It was Sgt. Guy Snyder of the Calumet Air Station at Gratiot Lake in Keweenaw County who provided the countdown. On the dot of the pronouncement “0” the firing was made by a team of Mike Brian and Len Williams of Space Defense Corporation in Birmingham.

Also on the site was Robert Richards, Copper Harbor resorter and driver of one of the snowmobiles used in carrying the party from a junction point in the route beyond Copper Harbor to the exact location of the Keweenaw Point launching site.

The party moved into the area about 10:30 in the morning. Trucks carried the unit and their equipment to a junction area with the untraversed route which led the men to the shooting site.

The roadway used by Goodman Division loggers proceeds about five miles into the Point region. From there to the Point all movement is via snowmobiles, skis or Shanks Ponies.

Two snowmobiles were used for about three and one-half miles over terrain that was both much snowed and small creek open.

The vehicles were provided by Elmer Isaacson of the Ahmeek-Mohawk district and by resorter Richards of Copper Harbor.

The launching ended a vigil which was quite active at certain intervals. Incidental to the final success were trips on Lake Superior so that it might be possible to fire the rockets from a raft towed behind either a fishing smack or a Coast Guard Patrol Boat. Neither of the Lake Superior trips succeeded due to stormy weather on the Lake. The rockets appeared to exercise little pressure on the brownish drum as they were set off. There was a swish and then the issuance of smoke in the region of the base. This carbony effect seemed to follow the projectile as it moved speedily into the skies northeast of the Point.

Marine endeavors in the area as well as plane trips were catered to as an hour prior warning was provided.

Sgt. Snyder constantly was in touch with Rick Lane of the Office of Naval Reserve, Minneapolis. For a time, Lane was located in Copper Harbor but he also had been at Lac LaBelle and Bete Gris sites. Consistent communications was effected in the direction of the Gratiot Lake air base.

The Point was snow covered and the temperature moderate at about 32 degrees Tuesday afternoon. The wind was nil and there was only a calm lapping of Lake Superior waves as they struck the pebble shore and hit the rocky crags so evident at the Point.

By four o'clock most of the delegation was back at their accustomed locations. As for the visiting party to Copper Harbor, it was getting ready to move out.

Dr. Allen indicated during the shooting period that he and his party would be back in the Copper Country for additional rocket firing in May. Meanwhile the group was making plans for immediate impending work which may take personnel as far north as Point Barrow, Alaska.

AIRMAN Fred Rogers of the Calumet Air Force Station transacted virtually all communications between Keweenaw Point and the Copper Harbor regions. It was he, incidentally who handled the first press dispatch ever to proceed to the outside from such an extreme point on the Keweenaw Peninsula.


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