Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Jason
 
Copyright © 2004 Andreas Parsch

Aerolab Argo E-5 (Jason)

In the 1950s and 1960s, Aerolab created its Argo series of sounding rockets by combining readily available rocket stages into all-up vehicles. One of these was the five-stage Argo E-5 (called Jason by the USAF), which was designed and built within a few months in 1958 for a specific U.S. Air Force requirement. The Jason's solid-propellant stages were an M6 "Honest John" motor (from surplus M31 Honest John rockets), two M5 "Nike" boosters (from surplus M1 Nike missiles), a Thiokol XM19 Recruit and a Thiokol T-55 motor. The rocket could lift a payload of about 30 kg (65 lb) to altitudes above 800 km (500 miles), and the highest Jason flight reached 937 km (582 miles).

Photo: USAF/NASA
Jason


The first successful launch of an all-up Jason rocket occurred on 1 August 1958. The rocket was subsequently used by the Air Force for 19 launches between 15 August and 2 September that year to measure the effects of exoatmospheric nuclear explosions during Project Argus. The latter detonated three low-yield nuclear warheads in near-earth space, which created temporary "artificial Van-Allen belts" of charged particles around the earth.

Although the Argo E-5/Jason was successfully employed by the USAF, it wasn't further used after Project Argus. Instead, Aerolab created the similar four-stage Argo D-4/Javelin for the Air Force and NASA as a standard vehicle for measurements in the 500-1000 km region.

Specifications

Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Argo E-5 (Jason):

Length17.49 m (57 ft 4.4 in)
Finspan1st stage: 2.61 m (8 ft 6.9 in)
2nd stage: 1.51 m (4 ft 11.5 in)
3rd stage: 1.34 cm (4 ft 4.7 in)
Diameter1st stage: 58.1 cm (22.9 in)
2nd/3rd stage: 41.9 cm (16.5 in)
4th stage: 22.9 cm (9.0 in)
5th stage: 15.7 cm (6.2 in)
Weight3310 kg (7300 lb)
SpeedMach 12.5
Altitude> 500 km (800 miles)
Propulsion1st stage: ABL M6 solid-fueled rocket; 365 kN (82000 lb) for 5 s
2nd/3rd stage: ABL M5 solid-fueled rocket; 217 kN (48700 lb) for 3.5 s
4th stage: Thiokol XM19E1 Recruit solid-fueled rocket; 156 kN (35000 lb) for 1.5 s
5th stage: Thiokol T-55 (1.3KS4800) solid-fueled rocket; 21 kN (4800 lb) for 1.3 s

Main Sources

[1] Norman J. Bowman: "The Handbook of Rockets and Guided Missiles", Perastadion Press, 1963
[2] Frederick I. Ordway III, Ronald C. Wakeford: "International Missile and Spacecraft Guide", McGraw-Hill, 1960
[3] Mark Wade: Encyclopedia Astronautica
[4] Jonathan McDowell: Launch Vehicles Database
[5] Sounding Rocket Study of Eighteen Vehicles, Summary Report, Vought Astronautics for NASA Langley Research Center, April 1961


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Last Updated: 13 July 2004