- Atlas is a family of US missiles and space launch vehicles that originated with the SM-65 Atlas.
- Atlas was a liquid propellant rocket burning RP-1 fuel with liquid oxygen in three engines configured in an unusual “stage-and-a-half” or “parallel staging” design.
- The Atlas was used as the expendable launch system with both the Agena and Centaur upper stages for the Mariner space probes used to explore Mercury, Venus, and Mars (1962–1973); and to launch ten of the Mercury program missions (1962–1963).
HISTORY OF ATLAS FAMILY:
- The Atlas name was originally proposed by Karel Bossart and his design team working at Convair on project MX-1593.
- The first successful test launch of an SM-65 Atlas missile was on 17 December 1957. Approximately 350 Atlas missiles were built.
Manufacturer – Convair
First flight – 17 December 1957
Introduction – 1957
Status – Atlas V (current)
Primary users – United States Air Force
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Produced – 1957–2010s (decade)
- SM-65 Atlas
- SM-65D Atlas
- Atlas IIIA
- Atlas V
FEATURES OF ATLAS FAMILY:
- At The Stage 1 Atlas V Rocket has fuel and oxygen tanks that feed an engine for the ascent; powers spacecraft into Earth orbit.
- The Atlas V first stage is the common core booster.
- This main booster is 107 feet (32.5 meters) long, with a diameter of 12.5 feet (3.8 meters). With the payload on board, the launch vehicle is 188 feet (57.3 meters).
- Fully fueled, with the spacecraft on top, it weighs about 730,000 pounds (333,000 kilograms).
Stage 2: Centaur
- Atlas V-401 Launch Vehicle, Stage 2 Centaur: Fuel and oxidizer and the vehicle’s “brains”
- The Centaur is 41.7 feet (12.7 meters) long and 10.2 feet (3.1 meters) in diameter.
- It has a restartable RL-10C engine made by Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sacramento, California.
- Atlas V-401 Launch Vehicle, Payload Fairing: The spacecraft will ride into the sky inside a protective payload fairing atop the Centaur stage.
- The spacecraft rides into the sky inside a protective payload fairing atop the Centaur stage.
- The fairing is 39.4 feet (12 meters) long, with a diameter of 13.8 feet (4.2 meters) at the widest part, tapering to the top of the cone.
- Delivering more than 860,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff and an impressive range of continuous throttling capability, the RD-180 main engine is a powerful combination of innovation and performance.
- Designed and manufactured by NPO Energomash, the liquid oxygen/liquid kerosene, two-thrust-chamber.
- This engine uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and can provide up to about 22,890 pounds of thrust.
Solid Rocket Boosters:
- Aerojet Rocketdyne manufactures the AJ-60A strap-on solid rocket booster motors that are used to provide additional thrust at liftoff.
- Up to five AJ-60A solid rocket booster motors may be added to the Atlas V depending on mission requirements.
- Twelve Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-106 Reaction Control System thrusters provide pitch, yaw and roll control for the Centaur upper stage, as well as settling burns.
- ARDÉ, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne based in New Jersey, manufactures the pressure vessels that support the first and second stages of the Atlas V launch vehicle.
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