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Nike-Cajun Sounding Rocket


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Nike-Cajun Sounding Rocket

Collection Item Summary:

This is the Nike-Ajax booster for the Nike-Cajun, a two-stage, solid-fuel sounding or upper-atmospheric research rocket. It could carry 10-100 pounds of scientific instruments up to 100 miles altitute for experiments like analyzing the composition of the upper atmosphere or obtaining data on radiation, weather, and solar phenomena.

The Nike-Cajun used a standard Nike-Ajax missile booster as the first stage and a Cajun as the second stage. It was one of the most widely used sounding rockets. Operational in 1956, they saw service during the International Geophysicial Year of 1957-1958. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1958 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Transferred from National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics


Steel body; magnesium nose with minor magnesium pitting; removable shroud over booster nozzle, aluminum; nozzle, booster, steel; fins and fins shrouding, magnesium; liner inside booster, asbestos, but now encapsulated.


Overall: 13 ft. 3 1/4 in. long x 1 ft. 4 1/2 in. diameter (404.5 x 41.91cm)

Country of Origin

United States of America


ca. 1957



Inventory Number


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