Arcas — also designated ARCAS — was the designation of an American sounding rocket, which was launched between July 31, 1959 and August 9, 1991 at least 421 times. The Arcas has a maximum flight altitude of 52 kilometers, a takeoff thrust of 1.5 kN, a takeoff weight of 34 kilograms, and a diameter of 11 centimeters. The Arcas was 2.30 m long and had a fin span of 0.33 m.
A variant of the Arcas, Super Arcas, was used extensively around the world from a wide variety of platforms on land and at sea. With a boost from a gas generator fed launch tube, Super Arcas was capable of reaching altitudes as high as 100 km. There were many time based weather experiments launched on this rocket due to the ability of the launch tube to be rapidly turned around for another launch. One of those experiments launched one rocket per hour for 24 hours straight in Antarctica.
Another variation of Arcas was called the Boosted Arcas, which was a 2 stage rocket; one Arcas stage and one booster.
Arcas use with DMQ-6 telemetry
When used for radar calibration in the 1960s, the Arcas rocket configuration consisted of a closed breech launcher, a sounding rocket, and two payload configurations, one a parachute recovery system with a DMQ-6 telemetry transmitter compatible with standard meteorological ground station receiving equipment, the other a one meter metalized balloon for radar calibration. The Arcas characteristics for this type operation were:
- Nominal payload: 12 pounds
- Maximum altitude: 210,000 feet
- Time to maximum altitude: 128 seconds
- Nominal payload: 7 pounds
- Maximum altitude: 300,000 feet
- Time to maximum altitude: 134 seconds
- Altitude at burnout: 47,300 feet
- Launch velocity: 150/ft/sec.
- Total rocket weight: 77 pounds
- Outside dimension of tail: 4.45 inches
- Robin balloon cross section
- DMQ-6 transmitter cross section
Source: RCA government contract DA-36-034-ORD-3144 Feb. 20, 1960
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