Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas Target Docking Adapter



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Atlas ATDA
Credit: © Mark Wade
American logistics spacecraft. One launch, 1966.06.01, Gemini 9 ATDA. An unpowered Gemini docking collar less the Agena rocket stage, launched one time by an Atlas when the Agena stage was not available. Fairing separation failed.

Gross mass: 794 kg (1,750 lb).
First Launch: 1966.06.01.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • Atlas SLV-3 American orbital launch vehicle. Standardized Atlas booster with no or small solid upper stage. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Gemini Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital manoeuvring, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC14 Atlas launch complex. The complex was built for the Atlas ballistic missile program. Launch sites 11 to 14 were accepted between August 1957 and mid-April 1958. After its final Atlas missile launch, Complex 14 was converted into an Atlas /Agena launch complex, and later turned over to NASA. Complex 14 supported 32 Atlas and Atlas/Agena missions, including four manned Mercury missions and seven unmanned Gemini target vehicle launches. Complexes 11, 12 and 14 were deactivated in 1967. Complex 14 and the gantry on Complex 13 were declared national historic landmarks in April 1984. More...

Atlas Target Docking Adapter Chronology


1965 August 19-24 - .
  • Lockheed conducted shroud separation tests at its Rye Canyon Research Center. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Atlas Target Docking Adapter. Summary: Tests comprised four separations at simulated altitudes, all sucessful. After test data had been analyzed, the shroud was judged to be flightworthy..

1966 January 21 - .
  • McDonnell completed final assembly of the augmented target docking adapter (ATDA). Voltage Standing Wave Ratio Tests were conducted January 21 and 22. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Atlas Target Docking Adapter. Summary: Systems Assurance Tests were completed January 25, vibration tests January 27. Simulated flight and phasing tests were conducted January 30-February 1. The ATDA was shipped to Cape Kennedy February 4..

1966 June 1 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3. LV Configuration: Atlas SLV-3 5304.
  • Gemini 9 ATDA - . Payload: TDA 4. Mass: 794 kg (1,750 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 9. Spacecraft: Atlas Target Docking Adapter. Decay Date: 1966-06-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 2186 . COSPAR: 1966-046A. Apogee: 296 km (183 mi). Perigee: 292 km (181 mi). Inclination: 28.8000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. The ATDA achieved a near-circular orbit (apogee 161.5, perigee 158.5 nautical miles). One hour and 40 minutes later, the scheduled launch of Gemini IX-A was postponed by a ground equipment failure which prevented the transfer of updating information from Cape Kennedy mission control center to the spacecraft computer. The mission was recycled for launch on June 3, following a prepared 48-hour recycle plan. Anomalous telemetry indicated some sort of problem with the target, but it was not until Gemini IX rendezvoused with it in orbit that it was seen that fairing separation had failed.

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