ARGUS was the designation given to the three high-altitude nuclear test shots conducted.

the United States in the South Atlantic Ocean in August and September{ 1958.
:$§ were conducted to test the Christofilos theory, which argued that high-altitude nuclear
ynations would create a radiation belt in the upper regions of the Earth's atmosphere. It
theorized that the radiation belt would have military implications, including degradation
radio and radar transmissions, damage or destruction of the arming and fuzing mechanisms
ICBM warheads, and endangering the crews of orbiting space vehicles that might enter the .

The tests were conducted in complete secrecy and were not announced until the following
“. The organization conducting these tests was Task Force 88, a naval organization






the Atomic


approximately 4,500 men.





A few specialists from the other




the fleet.

rdinated measurement programs using satellite, rocket, aircraft, and surface stations were
ried out by the services and other government agencies and contractors throughout the
Id. The ships of Task Force 88 were the antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier,

Tarawa (CVS-40); destroyers USS Bearss (DD-654) and USS Warrington (DD-843); destroyer .
orts USS Courtney (DE-1021) and USS Hammerberg (DE-1015); guided missile ship, USS -Norton

ad (AVN-

; seaplane tender, USS Albemarle (AV-5); and oilers USS Neosho (A0=-143) and USS

amonie (A0-26).

The low-yield (l- to 2-KT) devices were lifted to about a 300-mile altitude by rockets
ed from the ship, Norton Sound.
The detonations occurred at such distances above the
th that there was no possibility of exposure of task force personnel to ionizing radiation.
Of the 264 radiation-detection film packets distributed to the task force, 21 had
ications of radiation exposure, but the highest exposure recorded by an individual's
ket was 0.010 roentgen (R), so low as to be negligible.
The highest exposure recorded,
25 R, was by a control film packet.
Control film packets were located in radiation-free
as within the ships. Even this reading was so low that it could have been spurious or the

‘utt of natural background radiation.

In any event, both readings were below the accuracy

1it of the film, developing system, and densitometers used.


The results of the ARGUS operation proved the validity of the Christofilos theory. The
cablishment of an electron shell derived from neutron and beta decay of fission products
1 fonization of device materials in the upper fringe of the atmosphere was demonstrated.

2 Operation not only provided data on military considerations but also produced a great
3s of geophysical data, pure scientific material. of great value.


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