Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas E Altair


American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas E + 1 x Star 20 upper stage.

Gross mass: 125,000 kg (275,000 lb).
Height: 27.30 m (89.50 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,731.00 kN (389,144 lbf).
Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).
First Launch: 1990.04.11.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Stacksat P87-2 American technology satellite. 3 launched, 1990.04.11 (USA 56) to (USA 58). The U. S. military's STACKSAT mission involved the launch of three similar spacecraft, POGS, TEX and SCE. 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
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3W Delta, Atlas launch complex. First designated LC1-1 and used to launch Atlas Agena B with Samos payloads. After Samos cancellation, rebuilt in 1963 to support launch of KH-4 Corona spysats atop Thor-Agena. Refurbished in 1973 to accomodate surplus Atlas ICBM's in space launch role. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas E/F Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 117,826/4,926 kg. Thrust 386.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 316 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,174/3,174 kg. Thrust 1,644.96 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 290 seconds. More...
  • Star 20 Solid rocket stage. 27.14 kN (6,100 lbf) thrust. Mass 301 kg (664 lb). More...

Atlas E Altair Chronology


1990 April 11 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E Altair. LV Configuration: Atlas E / Altair 28E.
  • USA 56 - . Payload: POGS & SSR. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Stacksat P87-2. USAF Sat Cat: 20560 . COSPAR: 1990-031A. Apogee: 745 km (462 mi). Perigee: 627 km (389 mi). Inclination: 89.8000 deg. Period: 98.48 min. Polar Orbiting Geomagnetic Survey satellite designed to measure the Earth's magnetic field vector as a function of position. Data from the experiment was used to improve Earth navigation systems, and was stored in an experimental solid state recorder. Six low cost ground stations were designed, built and located around the world to operate the spacecraft flown on this mission.
  • USA 57 - . Payload: TEX. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Stacksat P87-2. USAF Sat Cat: 20561 . COSPAR: 1990-031B. Apogee: 742 km (461 mi). Perigee: 627 km (389 mi). Inclination: 89.8000 deg. Period: 98.45 min. Summary: TEX (Transceiver EXperiment) carried a variable power transmitter used to study ionospheric effects on RF transmissions. Data from the experiment was used to determine minimum spacecraft transmitter power levels for transmission to ground receivers..
  • USA 58 - . Payload: SCE. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: Stacksat P87-2. USAF Sat Cat: 20562 . COSPAR: 1990-031C. Apogee: 741 km (460 mi). Perigee: 627 km (389 mi). Inclination: 89.8000 deg. Period: 98.44 min. Summary: SCE (Selective Communications Experiment) carried a variable frequency transmitter to study ionospheric effects at various RF frequencies, and was also designed to demonstrate message store and forward techniques..

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