Loading...

Nuclear Tests in Space: Project Argus 1959-03-19 Universal Newsreel First Atomic Explosions in Space

12,073 views

Loading...

Loading...

Transcript

The interactive transcript could not be loaded.

Loading...

Rating is available when the video has been rented.
This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.
Published on Oct 13, 2012

more at http://scitech.quickfound.net/

"USS Norton Sound guided missile ship launches 1 of 3 missiles to explode A-bombs in space in secret Project Argus, experiment to develop ABM shield ." The newsreel actually shows a Viking rocket launch from the USS Norton Sound, not the atomic test launch being described.

Public domain film from the National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operatio...

Operation Argus was a series of nuclear weapons tests and missile tests secretly conducted during August and September 1958 over the South Atlantic Ocean by the United States's Defense Nuclear Agency, in conjunction with the Explorer 4 space mission. Operation Argus was conducted between the nuclear test series Operation Hardtack I and Operation Hardtack II. Contractors from Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as well as a few personnel and contractors from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission were on hand as well. The time frame for Argus was substantially expedited due to the instability of the political environment, i.e. forthcoming bans on atmospheric and exoatmospheric testing. Consequently, the tests were conducted within a mere half year of conception (whereas "normal" testing took one to two years)...

About 1800 km southwest of Cape Town, South Africa, USS Norton Sound launched three modified X-17A missiles armed with 1.7 kt W-25 nuclear warheads into the upper atmosphere, where high altitude nuclear explosions took place. Due to the South Atlantic Anomaly, the Van Allen radiation belt is closer to the Earth's surface at that location. The (extreme) altitude of the tests was chosen so as to prevent personnel involved in the test from being exposed to any ionizing radiation.

Coordinated measurement programs involving satellite, rocket, aircraft, and surface stations were employed by the services as well as other government agencies and various contractors worldwide.

The tests were proposed by Nicholas Christofilos of what was then the Livermore branch of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (now Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) as a means to verify the Christofilos effect, which argued that high-altitude nuclear detonations would create a radiation belt in the extreme upper regions of the Earth's atmosphere...

The Argus explosions created artificial electron belts resulting from the β-decay of fission fragments. These lasted for several weeks. Such radiation belts affect radio and radar transmissions, damage or destroy arming and fusing mechanisms of intercontinental ballistic missile warheads, and endanger crews of orbiting space vehicles...

The tests were first reported by the New York Times on March 19, 1959, headlining it as the "greatest scientific experiment ever conducted." Approximately nine ships and 4,500 people participated in the operation. After the completion of testing, the task force returned to the United States via Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

While the tests were announced the following year, the full results and documentation of the tests were not declassified until April 30, 1982...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W25_nucl...

The W25 was a small nuclear warhead developed by the United States Air Force and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for air-defense use. It was a fission device with a nominal yield of 1.5 kt. Development of the weapon began in 1954 at the behest of Douglas Aircraft for use against enemy bombers.

The W25 was used for the MB-1 "Ding Dong", an unguided air-to-air rocket used by the F-89 Scorpion, F-101B, and F-106 interceptor aircraft. The MB-1 entered service in 1957, and was eventually redesignated the AIR-2 Genie. The only non-U.S. user was Canada, whose CF-101 Voodoos carried Genies until 1984 via a dual-key nuclear sharing arrangement. Limited numbers were still used for Air National Guard F-106 aircraft until December 1984...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed...

The Lockheed X-17 was a three stage solid-fuel research rocket to test the effects of high mach atmospheric reentry. The first stage of the X-17 carried the rocket to a height of 17 miles (27 km) before burning out. The rocket would then coast on momentum to about 100 miles (160 km) before nosing down for reentry. The second stage engine would then fire before jettisoning and igniting the third and final stage. On April 24, 1957, an X-17 reached a speed of 9,000 miles per hour (14,000 km/h) at Patrick AFB. Ultimately the X-17 would be travelling towards earth at up to Mach 14.5.

The X-17 was also used as the booster for the Operation Argus series of three high-altitude nuclear tests conducted in the South Atlantic in 1958.

Loading...

When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next.

Up next


to add this to Watch Later

Add to

Loading playlists...