SM-65A Atlas

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Atlas A (SM-65A)
Atlas missile launch.jpg
Launch of Atlas 10A from LC-12 at CCAS
Function Prototype ICBM
Manufacturer Convair
Country of origin United States
Launch history
Status Retired
Launch sites LC-12 & LC-14, CCAFS
Total launches 8
Successes 4
Failures 4
First flight 11 June 1957
Last flight 3 June 1958

The SM-65A Atlas, or Atlas A, also designated X-11[1] was the first full-scale prototype of the Atlas missile, which first flew on 11 June 1957. Unlike later versions of the Atlas missile, the Atlas A did not feature the stage and a half design. Instead, the booster engines were fixed in place, and the sustainer engine was omitted.

The Atlas A conducted eight test flights, of which four were successful. All test flights were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, at either Launch Complex 12 or Launch Complex 14.[1]

Launch history[edit]

Date Time (GMT) Pad Serial Apogee Outcome Remarks
1957-06-11 19:37 LC-14 4A 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) Failure First launch attempt of an Atlas vehicle. Performance was normal until T+30 seconds when the missile lost thrust due to overheating that burned through wiring in the boattail section. Range Safety issued the destruct command at T+50 seconds. The flight was considered a "partial success" because the Atlas's balloon skin had maintained its structural integrity until vehicle destruction.
1957-09-25 19:57 LC-14 6A 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) Failure Loss of thrust followed by vehicle tumbling and RSO destruct at T+74 seconds due to overheating that led to gas generator failure.
1957-12-17 17:39 LC-14 12A 120 kilometres (75 mi) Success First successful flight of an Atlas missile.
1958-01-10 15:48 LC-12 10A 120 kilometres (75 mi) Success
1958-02-07 19:37 LC-14 13A 120 kilometres (75 mi) Failure[citation needed] Short circuit in the guidance system caused engine shutdown and vehicle breakup at T+167 seconds.
1958-02-20 17:46 LC-12 11A 90 kilometres (56 mi) Failure Short circuit in the guidance system caused engine shutdown and vehicle breakup at T+126 seconds.
1958-04-05 17:01 LC-14 15A 100 kilometres (62 mi) Failure Turbopump failure caused loss of thrust at T+105 seconds. Vehicle remained structurally intact until impacting the Atlantic Ocean 200 miles downrange.
1958-06-03 21:28 LC-12 16A 120 kilometres (75 mi) Success

See also[edit]

References[edit]