Status: Retired 1959.
From NASA SOUNDING ROCKETS, 1958-1968 - A Historical Summary, NASA SP-4401, 1971, by William R. Corliss
During the first year of the existence of Goddard's Sounding Rocket Branch, several sounding rockets, whose development predated NASA, came into the "stable" of vehicles readily available to NASA. Chief among these were the Javelin and Journeyman, both in the so-called Argo series. The Argo series was developed by the Aerolab Development Co. under the sponsorship of NACA/NASA, with support from the Air Force Special Weapons Center, the Naval Bureau of Ordnance, and the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory.
The Argo vehicles were derived from a family of NACA/NASA hypersonic test vehicles, after the fashion of the Nike-Deacon and Nike-Cajun. Aerolab has designed a long series of Argo rockets, including the Argo E-20, designed to lift 4.5 kg (10 lb) to 24 384 m (80 000 ft); but only the Jason (Argo E-5), the Javelin (Argo D-4), and the Journeyman (Argo D-8) have seen significant use. NASA never employed the Jason, but it is the rocket that the Air Force employed to measure high-altitude nuclear radiation during the Argus experiments in the late summer of 1958, when nuclear weapons were exploded at high altitudes. NASA has used the Javelin to some extent. The Journeyman helped NASA gather radiation data prior to the Mercury flights and has also seen some Air Force use. In general, the Argos are rather large by sounding rocket standards. They were all put together from off-the-shelf military hardware, often following vehicle adaptations by Langley Research Center. NASA use of the Argo series has been minimal.