De-classified NASA wind tunnel photos from project "Hot Dog".
At speeds above 500 mph the test subject's ears, eyelids, and lips tore away, rendering the attempt to break the sound barrier a failure.
(Left to right: 200 mph, 300 mph, 400 mph, 500 mph)
In July of 1947 near the small town of Roswell, New Mexico, an unidentified craft crashed on the ranch of Mack Brazel. There has been much speculation as to the other worldly origins of the wreckage, but the fact is that the rocket originated from the U.S. Army Missile Range at the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. The launch was the culmination and ultimate failure of 'Project Hot Dog'. The study involved aerodynamic / thermodynamic properties of the chihuahua.
The test vehicle was a modified German V-2 rocket that had been captured at the end of World War II. A crude capsule with limited heat shielding was placed at the top of the V-2. The ability of the chihuahua to withstand the fiery heat generated during the reentry process made it the perfect candidate. Werner von Braun removed himself from the project as he believed it too early to attempt a sub-orbital flight with living specimens.
The launch took place on schedule, July 2, 1947. The passengers were four specially trained Chihuahuas that wore primitive protective clothing that consisted of a thin flexible outer coating made of aluminum. (This development was later spun off to the commercial sector and sold as Aluminum Foil, ed.).
Approximately 2 minutes into the flight the steering vane motor failed and caused the V-2 to veer off course, eventually crashing on Mack Brazel's ranch. The capsule containing the four chihuahuas broke free from excessive g-loads, and impacted several miles from the main crash site. Only one of the passengers survived, named 'Oscar'. He was found embedded in a piece of debris from the capsule and could not be removed for fear of death. (Oscar lived, for over five more years, stuck in a chunk of titanium, ed.) As eye witnesses approached the scene of the second crash site, the charred remains of the other three chihuahuas were easily mistaken for 'martians'.
Maj. Jesse Marcel was quoted that he thought the debris was from a 'flying disc'. This was part of an intricate plan of deceit, implemented by the pentagon. The public, fascinated with tales of 'martians' and 'flying saucers', believed the press release issued from Roswell Army Air Base, that the Army had retrieved a crashed 'disc'. It wasn't until 1992 that the truth was revealed, and 'Project Hot Dog' took its place in history and in our space program.