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Operation Argus - 1958 - High Altitude Nuclear Explosions

Operation Argus - 1958 - High Altitude Nuclear Explosions

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ARGUS was the designation given to the three high-altitude nuclear
test shots conducted by the United States in the South Atlantic Ocean in
August and September 1958. The ARGUS shots were conducted to test the
Christofilos theory, which argued that high-altitude nuclear detonations
would create a radiation belt in the upper regions of the Earth's atmosphere.
It was theorized that the radiation belt would have military
implications, including degradation of radio and radar transmissions,
damage or destruction of the arming and fuzing mechanisms of ICBM warheads,
and endangering the crews of orbiting space vehicles that might
enter the belt.
The tests were conducted in complete secrecy and were not announced
until the following year. The organization conducting these tests was
Task Force 88, a naval organization consisting of nine ships and approximately
4,500 men. A few specialists from the other services and the Atomic
Energy Commission and their contractors were with the fleet. Coordinated
measurement programs using satellite, rocket, aircraft, and surface stations
were carried out by the services and other government agencies and
contractors throughout the world. The ships of Task Force 88 were the
antisubmarine carrier USS Tarawa (0X4-40), the destroyers USS Bearss (DD-
654) and USS Warrington (DD-843), the destroyer escorts USS Courtney (DE-
1021) and USS Hammerberg (DE-1015), the fleet oilers USS Neosho (AO-143)
and USS Salamonie (AO-26), the missile trials ship, USS Norton Sound
(AVM-l), and the seaplane tender USS Albemarle (AV-5).
The low-yield (l- to 2-KT) devices were lifted to about a 300-mile altitude
by rockets fired from the Norton Sound. The detonations occurred
at such distances above the Earth that there was no possibility of exposure
of task force personnel to ionizing radiation.
ARGUS was the designation given to the three high-altitude nuclear
test shots conducted by the United States in the South Atlantic Ocean in
August and September 1958. The ARGUS shots were conducted to test the
Christofilos theory, which argued that high-altitude nuclear detonations
would create a radiation belt in the upper regions of the Earth's atmosphere.
It was theorized that the radiation belt would have military
implications, including degradation of radio and radar transmissions,
damage or destruction of the arming and fuzing mechanisms of ICBM warheads,
and endangering the crews of orbiting space vehicles that might
enter the belt.
The tests were conducted in complete secrecy and were not announced
until the following year. The organization conducting these tests was
Task Force 88, a naval organization consisting of nine ships and approximately
4,500 men. A few specialists from the other services and the Atomic
Energy Commission and their contractors were with the fleet. Coordinated
measurement programs using satellite, rocket, aircraft, and surface stations
were carried out by the services and other government agencies and
contractors throughout the world. The ships of Task Force 88 were the
antisubmarine carrier USS Tarawa (0X4-40), the destroyers USS Bearss (DD-
654) and USS Warrington (DD-843), the destroyer escorts USS Courtney (DE-
1021) and USS Hammerberg (DE-1015), the fleet oilers USS Neosho (AO-143)
and USS Salamonie (AO-26), the missile trials ship, USS Norton Sound
(AVM-l), and the seaplane tender USS Albemarle (AV-5).
The low-yield (l- to 2-KT) devices were lifted to about a 300-mile altitude
by rockets fired from the Norton Sound. The detonations occurred
at such distances above the Earth that there was no possibility of exposure
of task force personnel to ionizing radiation.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: THE NIKOLA TESLA INSTITUTE on Jun 01, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Destroy this report when it is no longerneeded. Do not return to sender.PLEASE NOTIFY THE DEFENSE NUCLEAR AGENCY,ATTN:STTI, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20305, IFYOUR ADDRESS IS INCORRECT, IF YOU WSH TOBE DELETED FROMTHE DISTRIBUTION LIST, ORIF THE ADDRESSEE IS NO LONGER EMPLOYED BYYOUR ORGANIZATION.
 
UNCLASSIFIFD
XRITY CLASSIFICATION
OF
THIS PAGE (When
D&a iS&ued)
REPORTDOCUMENTATIONPAGE
REPORTNUMBER 2.
GOVT
ACCESSlON NO
DNA 6039F
TITLE
(and
Subtitle)
OPERATION ARGUS 1958
AU
THOR(~)
C. B. Jones, M K. Doyle, L. H. Berkhouse,F. S. Calhoun, RF Cross Associates; E. J. Martin,Kaman Temoo
PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME AND ADORE%
Kaman TempoP. 0. Drawer QQSanta Barbara, CA 93102..-.
CONTROLLING OFFICE NAME AND ADDRESS
DirectorDefense Nuclear AgencyWashington, DC 20305
MONITORING AGENCY NAME h ADORESS(If
dlifetamt fr01?1 Controltinl OffIce)
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT (of thin
Report)
READ INSTRUCTIONSBEFORE COMPLETING FORM3.
RECIPIENT’S CATALOG NUMBER
Approved for public release; distribution unlimted.
5. TYPE OF REPORT & PERIOD COVERED
Technical Report6.
ERFORMING ORG. REPORT NUMBER
KT-82-004(R)6.
ONTRACT OR GRANT NUMBER(a)
DNA 001-79-C-0472
10. PROGRAM ELEMENT. PROJECT, TASKAREA h WORK UNIT NUMBERS
Subtask U99QAXMK506-09
12.
REPORT DATE
30 April 198213.
UMBER OF PAGES
138
15. SECURITY CLASS.
(of thts report)
UNCLASSIFIED
15% DECLASSlFlCATION/DOWNCRADING
N/?i%%UNCLASSIFIED
DlSTAl0UTlON STATEMENT
(of
the abatrsct enteredfn
Block 20, If
different from Report)
SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES
This work was sponsored by the Defense Nuclear Agency under ROT&E RMSS Code8350079464 U99QAXMK50609 H25900.
KEY WORDS
(Continue on rev#r..
#Id, If nscssauy md Idmtify
by block number)
Nuclear Test OperationsSouth AtlanticARGUSChristofilos TheoryFLORALARGUS EffectJASONVan Allen BeltsNuclear Test Personnel Review (NTPR)MDASIn late August and early September of 1958, U.S. Navy Task Force 88, con-sisting of nine ships and approximately 4,500 men, secretly conducted threehigh-altitude nuclear tests in the South Atlantic. The code name of the opera-tion was ARGUS.In each of these tests, the task force launched fromthemssile trials ship, USS Norton Sound (AVM-l), a specially modified X-17a 7.three-stage ballistic mssile carrying a low-yield nuclear warhead, which wasdetonated high in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Upon completion of these
.
launchings on September 6, the task force deoarted thg
ODPW arm (Con
t+
.\
FOR”
JAN-l3
1473
EDITIOM OF 1 HOV 6S IS OBSOLETE
UNCLASSIFIED
SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF THIS PACE (When
Data Entered)

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