Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas B



atlasbj.jpg
Atlas B
Atlas B - COSPAR 1958-Zeta
atlasabd.jpg
Atlas A/B/D
Test missiles Atlas A and Atlas B; Atlas D-Mercury
Credit: © Mark Wade
atlasb.jpg
Atlas B
Credit: US Air Force
atlasbdw.gif
Atlas B
Credit: © Mark Wade
American test vehicle. First all-up test version of the Atlas ICBM, with jettisonable booster engines and a single engine sustainer on core - a '1 1/2' stage launch vehicle.

LEO Payload: 70 kg (154 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 32.00 degrees. Failures: 3. First Fail Date: 1958-07-19. Last Fail Date: 1959-01-16 in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 14.210 million. Maximum range: 6,000 km (3,700 mi).

Stage Data - Atlas B

  • Stage 0. 1 x Atlas MA-2. Gross Mass: 3,050 kg (6,720 lb). Empty Mass: 3,050 kg (6,720 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,517.422 kN (341,130 lbf). Isp: 282 sec. Burn time: 135 sec. Isp(sl): 248 sec. Diameter: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Span: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Length: 0.0000 m ( ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 2. Engine: XLR-89-5. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Atlas B. Gross Mass: 107,610 kg (237,230 lb). Empty Mass: 3,980 kg (8,770 lb). Thrust (vac): 363.218 kN (81,655 lbf). Isp: 309 sec. Burn time: 240 sec. Isp(sl): 215 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Length: 21.90 m (71.80 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: XLR-105-5. Status: Out of Production.

AKA: X-12; PGM-16B; Atlas B; SM-65B.
Gross mass: 110,740 kg (244,130 lb).
Payload: 70 kg (154 lb).
Height: 26.00 m (85.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,587.20 kN (356,817 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
First Launch: 1958.07.19.
Last Launch: 1959.02.04.
Number: 10 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Score American communications technology satellite. One launch, 1958.12.18. Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment; first communications satellite; transmitted taped messages for 13 days. More...

Associated Engines
  • XLR105-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 363.2 kN. Atlas D. Atlas Sustainer. Gas generator, pump-fed. Shared turbopumps for booster engines. Isp=309s. First flight 1958. More...
  • XLR89-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 758.7 kN. Atlas D. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Shared turbopumps for booster engines. Isp=282s. First flight 1958. More...

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 Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Convair American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA. More...

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 LC11 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. Complex 11 supported 28 Atlas launches and five Atlas Advanced Ballistic Reentry System flights between 19 July 1958 and 2 April 1964. Complexes 11, 12 and 14 were deactivated in 1967. 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...
  • Cape Canaveral LC13 Atlas launch complex. Originally built in 1958 for the Atlas ballistic missile program, Complex 13 supported 51 Atlas and Atlas/Agena launches from 1958 to 1978. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas B Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 107,610/3,980 kg. Thrust 363.22 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 309 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,050/3,050 kg. Thrust 1,517.42 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 282 seconds. More...

Atlas B Chronology


1957 September - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B.
  • Scheduled design complete (95%) for Atlas B-series missiles - . Nation: USA.

1958 July 19 - . 17:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 3B. FAILURE: Flight Control Failure. Failed Stage: G.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). Summary: First full-powered flight of USAF Atlas B ICBM using both the sustainer and booster engines. 'Marginally successful'..

1958 August 2 - . 22:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 4B.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi). Summary: Second full-powered flight of USAF Atlas ICBM traveled 2,500 miles with radio-inertial guidance, fully successful..

1958 August 29 - . 04:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 5B.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-1 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi).

1958 September 14 - . 05:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 8B.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-2 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi).

1958 September 18 - . 21:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 6B. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1958 November 18 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 9B.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 800 km (490 mi).

1958 November 29 - . 02:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 12B.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-3 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi). Summary: Less than 18 months after the first flight, a USAF Atlas made its first successful full-range operational test flight in a 6,325 statute-mile flight, landed close to its target..

1958 December 18 - . 23:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 10B.
  • Score - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: Score. Decay Date: 1959-01-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 10 . COSPAR: 1958-Zeta-1. Apogee: 1,484 km (922 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 32.3000 deg. Period: 101.50 min. Summary: Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment; first commsat; transmitted taped messages for 13 days..

1959 January 16 - . 04:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 13B. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 February 4 - . 08:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 11B.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-4? test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 990 km (610 mi). Summary: Last Atlas B flight, fully successful.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use