Two NIKE-APACHE rockets were fired off from the Keweenaw Missile Range as a part of the IGY, International Geophysical Year, in a coordinated launch with other NASA facilities in North America. Although other research sounding rockets had been fired from the Keweenaw Range in years previous, these were by far the largest rockets fired.
Preparations went on through the Fall of 1970, but took until January, 1971, to bring things to a readiness. Weather that winter also took a toll. These pictures were taken by Roland Burgan, then WHDF (Houghton, later WCCY) General Manager, & News Director, over two trips made into the site on two consecutive days, Thursday, January 28th, and Friday, January, 29th., 1971. Accompanying Roland was a brother, Read, then General Manager of WGGL-FM, (PBS station at MTU). The first launch had been set for Thursday, but was postponed at the last minute by uncooperative high altitude winds. The launch went as planned on Friday, at noon. Temperatures that day hovered at -20 deg.F
One interesting note....about 20 seconds after launch, more birds (they literally filled the sky) suddenly appeared overhead than anyone had ever seen before...the sky went black for about a minute! The rocket attained an altitude of about 82 miles.
For more information, see the following Daily Mining Gazette articles: Jan.7, 1971 (two stories); Jan. 9; Jan.11; Jan. 13; Jan. 15; Jan. 18; Jan. 23; Jan.28; Jan.30 (two stories); Feb. 1; & Feb. 9th.