Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2005 Andreas Parsch

Atlantic Research Arcon

In 1955, the Atlantic Research Corp. (ARC) began to develop the Arcon sounding rocket under a contract from the Naval Research Laboratory and the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Ordnance. At that time, the Arcon was to be a replacement for the widely used Deacon rocket. The Arcon used a new slow-burning propellant developed by ARC, which enabled it to reach much higher altitudes than fast-burning rockets of comparable size, because less energy was wasted to overcome drag in the lower atmosphere. To provide sufficient initial acceleration to attain stable flying speed, the Arcon was assisted by a small high-thrust booster rocket.

Photo: NASA

The first Arcon was fired on 16 July 1958, but it broke up after the burn-out of the sustainer motor. The next two flights weren't successful, either. During 1959, six additional Arcons were launched by NASA, which had absorbed the NRL's rocket group when it was created in October 1958. Only one of the launches reached the design altitude of 100 km (60 miles), and the Arcon project was subsequently terminated.


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

Data for Arcon:

Length (w/o booster)3.40 m (11 ft 1.8 in); booster: 0.65 m (2 ft 1.8 in)
Diameter15.5 cm (6.1 in)
Finspan67 cm (26.5 in)
Weight (w/o payload)108.6 kg (239.5 lb)
Altitude100 km (60 miles)
PropulsionBooster: Atlantic Research 0.4KS3000 solid-fueled rocket; 13.3 kN (3000 lb) for 0.4 s
Sustainer: Atlantic Research 32KS1000 solid-fueled rocket; 4.4 kN (1000 lb) for 32 s

Main Sources

[1] Peter Alway: "Rockets of the World, 2000 Supplement", Saturn Press, 2000
[2] Jonathan McDowell: Launch Vehicles Database

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 17 February 2005