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

Aerolab Argo D-4 (Javelin)

The 4-stage Javelin was developed by Aerolab, which called the rocket Argo D-4, as a successor to the U.S. Air Force's Argo E-5/Jason sounding rocket. The first three stages were identical to Jason (1x M6 "Honest John" + 2x M5 "Nike"), but the latter's two small upper stages were replaced by a single larger X-248 Altair motor (adapted from the Navy's Vanguard SLV program). With a typical payload of about 60 kg (130 lb), the vehicle could reach an altitude of about 1100 km (680 miles). The first Javelin flight, a joint USAF/NASA mission, occurred on 7 July 1959.

Photos: NASA

Although the Javelin was originally developed as an Air Force vehicle to measure radiation levels at high altitide, it was quickly adopted as a standard high-performace sounding rocket by NASA. The USAF flew 14 Javelins until May 1969, but NASA use continued through July 1976. In total, at least 79 Javelin sounding rockets were fired.


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

Data for Argo D-4 (Javelin):

Length14.85 m (48 ft 8.8 in)
Finspan1st stage: 2.61 m (8 ft 6.9 in)
2nd stage: 1.58 m (5 ft 2.1 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: 48 cm (19.0 in)
Weight3430 kg (7570 lb)
SpeedMach 18.5
Altitude> 1000 km (620 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 3.4 s
4th stage: ABL X-248 Altair solid-fueled rocket; 14 kN (3150 lb) for 40 s

Main Sources

[1] Peter Alway: "Rockets of the World", Saturn Press, 1999
[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

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

Last Updated: 13 July 2004