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

NMSU Physical Science Lab Pogo / Pogo-Hi


In 1953, the Physical Science Laboratory of the New Mexico State University developed the Pogo vehicle under a U.S. Navy contract to provide a high-altitude radar target. The Pogo rocket consisted of a solid-propellant rocket motor and a large nose cone. The rocket's four square tail fins were canted to induce a stabilizing spin. At the peak of the trajectory (at more than 30 km (100000 ft)), the nose cone was separated and began to descend under a large (6 m (20 ft) diameter) metallized parachute. This parachute made an excellent target for tests of radars and radar-guided missiles.

The initial Pogo version used a Deacon motor, and had a length of 4.1 m (13.5 ft) and a diameter of 15.9 cm (6.25 in). It was first launched in April 1954, and the rocket (and later modified versions) was used from White Sands Missile Range to test various surface-to-air guided missiles.


Upgraded versions of the Pogo target were generally referred to as Pogo-Hi. They were flown in several different configurations, and used a variety of motors like the Cajun, Apache and Asp. The major external difference between the Pogo-Hi vehicles and the original Pogo configuration were the former's triangular tail fins.

Photo: Sven Knudson (Ninfinger Productions)
Foreground: Pogo-Hi (two configurations)

The U.S. Navy used Pogo-Hi rockets also for tests of the AAM-N-7/AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared guided missile by fitting the payload, which descended under the parachute, with a bright IR source. The use of the Pogo-Hi ended at some time in the early 1960s.


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

Data for Pogo-Hi (typical vehicle):

Length4.3 m (14 ft)
Finspan0.64 m (2.1 ft)
Diameter15.9 cm (6.25 in)
Weight120 kg (270 lb)
SpeedMach 2
Altitude36600 m (120000 ft)
PropulsionSolid-fueled rocket

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] White Sands Missile Range Museum Website

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

Last Updated: 13 July 2004