Encyclopedia Astronautica
Nike Deacon


American test vehicle. Two-stage rocket using surplus Nike boosters and Deacon sounding rocket upper stage. The combination was much cheaper than Aerobee, and unlike Rockoon could be launched from fixed launchers in two and a half hours. It was used for 'falling sphere' air density studies, atmospheric soundings, and for heat transfer studies launched from NACA Wallops Island.

From NASA SOUNDING ROCKETS, 1958-1968 - A Historical Summary, NASA SP-4401, 1971, by William R. Corliss

When the Deacon and Cajun rockets were combined with the solid-propellant booster of the Nike I guided missile, two very capable sounding rockets evolved: the Nike-Deacon (called DAN for Deacon and Nike) and Nike-Cajun (CAN). DAN could take a 23-kg (50-lb) payload to 111 km (69 mi), while the higher performance CAN could carry the same payload to 167 km (104 mi).

The original mating of the Nike and Deacon was carried out by NACA PARD personnel in 1953 as an in-house project with later financial support from the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories (AFCRL). The objective of the NACA work was again the acceleration of model rockets and aircraft to high Mach numbers. The first of these firings took place on November 19, 1953, at Wallops Island. The Nike-Deacon began its sounding rocket career in 1954 at a meeting of the Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel. Panel Chairman James A. Van Allen asked the NASA representative, William J. O'Sullivan, from Langley Research Center, if one of the PARD vehicles might not be less expensive and more easily launched than the Aerobee. O'Sullivan recommended the Nike-Deacon. Subsequently the Aeronautical Engineering Department of the University of Michigan, which was developing upper atmosphere instrumentation for AFCRL, was funded by AFCRL to convert the PARD Nike-Deacon into a sounding rocket. The new rocket was launched from Wallops Island for the first time on April 8,1955. The Nike-Deacons and Nike-Cajuns were cheap and reliable, the basic rocket motors having been developed and well tested during their military and NACA careers. Further, they were simple and easy to use - scientists could take them wherever targets of opportunity existed.

Gross mass: 710 kg (1,560 lb).
Payload: 23 kg (50 lb).
Height: 7.74 m (25.39 ft).
Diameter: 0.42 m (1.37 ft).
Span: 1.59 m (5.21 ft).
Thrust: 217.00 kN (48,783 lbf).
Apogee: 160 km (90 mi).
First Launch: 1953.11.19.
Last Launch: 1957.09.18.
Number: 18 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Deacon The Deacon was an advanced solid rocket motor design cancelled at the end of World War II. In 1947 NACA began using reworked surplus motors to boost instrumented subscale aircraft models to speeds of up to Mach 4. They became a workhorse for the Agency's aerodynamic research, resulting in new production. Thousands were flown, until, by the end of the 1950's, supersonic wind tunnels took over the job. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA Langley American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Langley, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • San Nicolas Military facility on the California Channel Islands, used for rocket launches in support of other missile tests from Vandenberg or Point Mugu. Known to have been used for 35 launches from 1957 to 2004, reaching up to 443 kilometers altitude. More...

Associated Stages
  • HJ Nike Nike-3 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 599/256 kg. Thrust 195.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 195 seconds. The average sea level thrust of the Nike rocket motor was 190.3 kN. The interstage adapter was bolted to the front of the Nike and consisted of a conical shaped adapter which slip-fit into the second stage nozzle, thus providing for drag separation at Nike burnout. Each Nike fin was 0.45 square meters in area. Normally, the fins were canted to provide a two revolutions per second spin rate at Nike burnout. More...

Nike Deacon Chronology


1953 November 19 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon.
  • F40 Hypersonic test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). Summary: First launching of a Nike-Deacon two-stage rocket for heat transfer studies at NACA Wallops Island..

1954? - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon-1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USA. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi).

1955 April 8 - . 15:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon.
  • DAN-1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 108 km (67 mi).

1955 June 24 - . 18:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon.
  • DAN-2 Aeronomy mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 105 km (65 mi). Summary: First Nike-Deacon sounding rocket launched at Wallops Island in cooperative USAF-NACA program of upper air density measurements..

1955 September 27 - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon.
  • Hemi-Cyl re-entry vehicle test flight - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 30 km (18 mi).

1957 July 2 - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.37F.
  • NRL NN7.37F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 93 km (57 mi).

1957 July 3 - . 09:28 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.38F.
  • NRL NN7.38F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 113 km (70 mi).

1957 July 15 - . 14:23 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.39F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.39F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 28 km (17 mi).

1957 July 23 - . 16:29 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.40F.
  • NRL NN7.40F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 129 km (80 mi).

1957 August 5 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.41F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.41F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

1957 August 20 - . 09:49 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.42F/DAN-20.
  • NRL NN7.42F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Apogee: 96 km (59 mi).

1957 August 27 - . 08:54 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.43F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.43F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 16 km (9 mi).

1957 August 28 - . 13:21 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.44F.
  • NRL NN7.44F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 96 km (59 mi).

1957 August 29 - . 14:12 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.45F/DAN-23.
  • NRL NN7.45F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 113 km (70 mi).

1957 September 12 - . 16:20 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.46F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.46F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

1957 September 15 - . 13:27 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.47F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • NRL NN7.47F Solar ultraviolet and x-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1957 September 18 - . 18:42 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.48F. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Solar Ultraviolet/Solar X-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 21 km (13 mi).

1957 September 18 - . 18:54 GMT - . Launch Site: San Nicolas. LV Family: Deacon. Launch Vehicle: Nike Deacon. LV Configuration: Nike Deacon NN7.49F.
  • Solar Ultraviolet/Solar X-ray mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 77 km (47 mi).

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