Talk:Atlas (rocket family)

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Started[edit]

This article needs more work. But having Atlas rocket redirect to Atlas (missile) didn't convey to readers the full sense of what "Atlas" refers to! Sdsds 11:43, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

What's the same?[edit]

Back in the days of the Atlas I, I was really "into" rockets and spacecraft. I'm now officially out of it, so this may be a naive question. But what is the same about the Atlas I and the Atlas V? The 1 1/2 staging is gone and replaced by a very different two stage design, it uses a different booster engine, the tanks are different, the manufacturer is new, and surely the guidance system bears no resemblance. I guess the first stage fuel and oxidizer are the same, but besides that? (Oh, and the name.) Heck, it looks more like a Titan III... (This is not a criticism of the article, just maybe a question the article could address.) Mcswell (talk) 04:00, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Atlas evolution.png
Right! Not even the name of the manufacturer is the same. We can speculate that some of the engineering and manufacturing culture remained through the evolution, But Atlas V essentially looks like a new vehicle. The question is, does the "Atlas Evolution" chart show this properly? It starts with Atlas II, which used the stage-and-a-half design, and shows the changes. Is there some reliable source we could cite that underscores how much changed during this evolution? (sdsds - talk) 06:45, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

File:Convair General Dynamics Atlas Centaur launch, c. 1965.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Karel Bossart needs to be discussed, at least get a sentence![edit]

Not even a mention of Karel Bossart? Arguably the most brilliant rocket designer in the USA, and nobody has heard of him. I recently got lectured on this by a Russian rocket engineer, which is ironic, that he is more famous there than here. DonPMitchell (talk) 02:02, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

WP:BRD reverts[edit]

Per WP:BRD I've partially and selectively reverted some of the changes made to the structure of this article, while trying to keep the text added in those edits intact. I think that splitting the list into subjectively defined categories is the wrong way to go - I actually have a problem with the way it is split at the moment as it seems to be structured to assert the view that the Atlas III and V should not be named "Atlas", although that issue predates the current edits. The new structure promoted recentism and marginalised the history of the rocket - particularly its applications as a missile (although in fairness that aspect was not well covered to begin with). It is also somewhat misleading to call a missile a "launch vehicle".

I am fully seized of the need to rewrite and improve this article, however I before any further major structural changes occur, a discussion needs to be held to ascertain the best way to proceed. It is good that an editor has made WP:BOLD edits, however now that this has been met with opposition we need to follow WP:BRD and discuss the best way forwards. --W. D. Graham 08:37, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

The article structure is consistent with the Titan family and Falcon family articles, with the focus first on the current launch vehicles followed by a discussion of the historical launch vehicles and then any future directions for the rocket family. As a family article it should contain summary information that encourages the reader to delve into the separate articles on each major subclass. The article was originally a disjointed, poor quality article that other editors claimed that was a rehash of other Atlas-related articles. I do not see how by putting a logical flow, in keeping with related LV family articles, onto the article, with with categories inferred from information from both EN:WP and other widely-disseminated websites and sources, reduces or marginalizes the original roots and workhorse nature of the Atlas family. I also believe that before statement are made, that the editor should look at article history before making comments on at least two occasions. I again assert the concept of WP:OWN and the consensus-based nature of EN:WP. "Protecting" the status quo isn't a valid excuse for low-quality, inaccurate or stub (WP:STUB) articles. Ajh1492 (talk) 09:06, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Look, I know I've already told you this; I want to discuss this and find a compromise, but I'm going to have a problem working with you if you don't stop making ad hominem arguments. You need to accept that other users disagreeing with you doesn't mean that they are wrong, or that they are being disruptive. We need to work together but I can't work with someone who can't be civil and is going to keep questioning my motives. So we can either try to cooperate here, or you can keep making personal attacks the discussion will go nowhere and nothing will get changed - given the current state of this article that is not something I want, so please can you agree to stop trying to make it personal so we can discuss the issues at hand? --W. D. Graham 09:13, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not the one taking any alteration to the article personally. I've been very civil and non-personal in my comments, I'm mentioning WP:OWN from the perspective of comments, reverts and actions. Ajh1492 (talk) 09:58, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm not taking the changes to the article personally. What I'm taking personally is the fact that you are questioning my motives. There's no need to mention WP:OWN unless you feel that I have a problem with it, and you have done nothing to show that I have a problem with it. Please can we just drop this unproductive strand of the discussion and agree not to make any further comments on this matter, as it will get us nowhere with regards improving the article. --W. D. Graham 10:11, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

If you are willing to discuss the issues, I think that a chronological order is more sensible as the beginning is the best place to start. The Falcon article is the exception to the rule and should probably be brought in line. The other article you mentioned, Titan (rocket family) is in chronological order, as are most of the others such as Delta (rocket family) and Thor (rocket family). Also, as a family article it should contain details on the origins of the family. --W. D. Graham 09:21, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

It is very logical to talk within an article, after the lede, about the current state first (e.g. a brief mention of Atlas V with a link to the main Atlas V article) , then to delve into the historical perspective starting with the Atlas ICBM then flowing back through to the evolution to the current state. Since it is a summary level article providing a family overview it makes sense to logically group the evolutionary steps of the Atlas. Generally available sources on the internet and even within EN:WP show that there is a logical break at the following points (Atlas D - when it becomes and operational ICBM and use as a LV - including use of Agena), (When Atlas D was stretched and upper stage diameter increased to accommodate Centaur), (the Atlas 3 when the balloon tank design was dropped) and (Atlas V). Ajh1492 (talk) 09:58, 20 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree about putting a brief mention of the Atlas V first. I think that would be a good idea, however it should only be a brief mention, with the rest of the information on the Atlas V taking its rightful place further down the article. --W. D. Graham 10:11, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

What is the main issue of this BRD?[edit]

(Uninvolved editor coming in here) It seems like edits and reverts are flying pretty fast, with some editor words above being uncivil or borderline uncivil, as well as the beginnings of an edit war starting. Let's see if we can all chill just a bit, and get back to the pure article content conversation.

I have reverted the edits made by both Ajh1492 and WDGraham, to take it back to the condition of the article following the initial revert by WDGraham on 2013-10-20T08:38:12, which per WP:BRD is where it looks like the discussion should start.

Let's slow it down and discuss issue by issue. First off, I'll note that I'm quite willing to consider the lede as it existed prior to my revert, and I agree with both of your last two comments, above (Ajh1492 (talk) 09:58, 20 October 2013 (UTC) and W. D. Graham 10:11, 20 October 2013 (UTC)). However, I found so many words had been spilled above, and some apparently too quick to NOT assume good faith on the part of the other editor, that I could not parse what is the key kernel of the content dispute.

So, what key idea is in dispute here? Maybe we can take it one issue at a time, and keep the editor to editor behavioral debate out of this subsection of the Talk page. Cheers. N2e (talk) 20:24, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

There are two issues which I felt warranted reverting Ajh's edits to allow discussion to take place. The first was the reordering of article sections to, in my opinion, put too much emphasis on the rocket's current status as opposed to its history - placing the entire Atlas V section ahead of the historical section describing the vehicles which led up to it. I also felt that some of the changes to structuring further down the article marginalised the Atlas' role as a missile, focussing instead on its use to launch satellites.
The second issue I had was the splitting of the main table of variants into several subjective categorisations. Now granted, the current table needs to be thrown out and started again, but it should still show the whole family of Atlas rockets rather than dividing it into fairly subjective groups. These groups were also an issue in Ajh's proposed merger of four articles (of varying similarity, including the whole Atlas-Agena line into the article on the Atlas-D missile. --W. D. Graham 20:43, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Well then, if there are two main issues from the fairly major edits that were reverted, maybe we could take them one at a time, in separate sections so we don't get all the Talk confused on which issue is being discussed where. I'll try to get back to this article in the next couple of hours and start at least one of those sections, and throw in my thoughts on the topic. N2e (talk) 00:38, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Issue no. 1: order of the Atlas V section[edit]

User:WDGraham said: "reordering of article sections ... in my opinion, put[s] too much emphasis on the rocket's current status as opposed to its history - placing the entire Atlas V section ahead of the historical section describing the vehicles which led up to it. I also felt that some of the changes to structuring further down the article marginalised the Atlas' role as a missile, focussing instead on its use to launch satellites." (this quotation copied by User:N2e from WDGraham's comment above)

I believe that this article, "Atlas (rocket family)", ought to emphasize the entire family of rockets with the Atlas descriptor, mfgd over 50 years, by the company (and its successors) that made them. Specifics on individual rockets, including the current Atlas V, ought to be left for individual military-rocket-specific or launch-vehicle-specific articles, with just a summary of the rockets here.
As a result, I do not believe the summary of the Atlas V, a summary that should naturally be a part of the Atlas (rocket family) article, should take extraordinary precedence in that article, and should not be placed in ordinal order prior to the History section. Rather, I think that the chronological ordering would appear to be best. After all, this is a "family" (or, at minimum, the manufacturer chose to keep the moniker consistent over 50 years, perhaps partly as a marketing benefit in marketing subsequent rocket designs to the U.S. Space-industrial complex) article that spans fifty years of rockets. Cheers. N2e (talk) 02:31, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Issue no. 2: Categories for the table of Atlas V rockets[edit]

User:WDGraham said: "splitting of the main table of variants into several subjective categorisations. Now granted, the current table needs to be thrown out and started again, but it should still show the whole family of Atlas rockets rather than dividing it into fairly subjective groups. These groups were also an issue in Ajh's proposed merger of four articles (of varying similarity, including the whole Atlas-Agena line into the article on the Atlas-D missile." (copied from earlier discussion by N2e to make for a more clear conversation on a point-by-point basis.)

(Attempting to be a peacemaker here, by suggesting a possible consensus opinion) In the discussion below—entitled "Clear breaks in technological advance", and to date involving only the two editors Ajh1492 and WDGraham—where it appears that the two opinions are at loggerheads, I think I see a middle ground that might be acceptable to all. WDG has said the entire table in this article should be thrown out, and start over, and also that the extant two table going to four tables is not a good idea, especially without clear criteria being developed in advance on the Talk page as to what ought to go in the tables. Ajh has stated that it would probably be best if this particular Atlas family article—which is really just an Atlas family of lower stages-sort of article, given the 50-year history and quite clearly delineated and non-Atlas upper stages—to have no table in here at all, and just leave the detail in the separate articles that exist on each member of the Atlas family, each with often quite divergent designs, and therefore not-easy-to-compare features.
So might we get a middle ground on that? Either remove both of the tables from the current version of the article, and leave the design detail in the individual articles. Or, alternatively, either Ajh or WDG suggest, here on this Talk page, a very high level single table that would compare the various Atlas family members, but only at a very high level, while leaving the 98% of the technical detail for the individual articles, or the prose summaries in this article, and only if they can be sourced by reliable sources (which, for the record, I note a good bit of the stuff in the current tables are not). So, for example, we might see in a table things like years mfgd, or years in operational use; name of company who made the rocket for the US Government; basic high-level mission of the Atlas lower stage when it was called that (e.g., ICBM, or space probe launch vehicle, or early manned orbital launches (Gemini), or general purpose ELV for US DoD and NASA, etc.); an then maybe just a simple technical detail or two like height of the first stage, or booster throw-weight "payload" (second stage ++) mass, etc. – but generally only a very few columns to allow the reader of this family article to click into the detail elsewhere.
So, are you willing to just kill the (poorly executed) tables that exist today, as Ajh suggested? Or might either of you be willing to propose a simplified single table, with only the sourced major members of the Atlas progression?
Hope this was helpful to potentially breaking a logjam and working towards achieving a consensus. N2e (talk) 14:03, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed your reply here. I think there should be a table, but I'm not sure what's the best way to handle it - obviously not how it is at the moment. The problem, which has come up several times before in other articles, is that what constitutes a "major member" is often highly subjective. There are more differences, for example, between the Atlas IIIA and IIIB than between the Atlas G and I, however the IIIA and IIIB are usually considered variants of the same rocket, whereas the G and I are often considered separate types. --W. D. Graham 12:35, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Clear breaks in technological advance.[edit]

The article in it's original state was an unreadable, poorly-written fragment of an article.

(a) If the casual user is looking for information related to the current Atlas rockets they're NOT going to want to wade down through the ENTIRE article just to find the information on the Atlas V at the very end. I see no reason why not to put a paragraph on the current LV after the lede but before the history.

(b) Evolutionary Categories: As an engineer, there are clear technological breakpoints within the evolution of the Atlas rocket family that scream out to be explained.

The first point is conversion from an ICBM to a space launch vehicle - this did not entail a change to the design, just replacement of the GE radio guidance unit with an on-board inertial guidance unit (there's a good link to a USAF site about this). No one wants to be SPAM-in-a-can without the ability to have some control over your own destiny (and the ability to pull the abort handle). These include Mercury-Atlas, Atlas-Agena. There are no significant design changes within this grouping.

The second point is when the basic balloon-tank "stage-and-a-half" Atlas rocket was stretched AND the second stage adapter was increased to accommodate the Centaur as an upper stage. These include Atlas-Centaur, Atlas I, Atlas II. Again, there are no significant design changes within this grouping - I don't count some length stretching and deletion of the verniers as major.

The third point is a radical design change - complete total utter abandonment of both the balloon-tank AND stage-and-a-half design element to go with an isogrid tank/stage design with strap-on SRMs. I DID NOT write the comment in the article, but I do agree, the Atlas III and Atlas V are NOT direct derivatives of the Atlas D. It was a marketing decision by LM to keep the Atlas brand - they could have easily called them Titan (they actual share more characteristics with the Titans than the original Atlases), but too many Titans has been failing at that point in time.


Thus once this article is fixed up, the articles below it need to be cleaned up, merged and re-split:

MERCURY-ATLAS (merge all stub articles dealing with the manned Atlases into this article, this includes splitting anything related OUT of the Atlas D article) ATLAS-AGENA (merge any stub about unmanned Atlases (D-derived) into this article, especially from the Atlas D article. Agena has it's own article) ATLAS-ABLE can sit for now

There is a good article on SM-65 Atlas from a missile perspective. There's a lot of launch vehicle stuff in the article that needs to be summarized into a short paragraphy with a link back to the Atlas Family article. The Atlas A, B, C, D, E, and F articles are all stubs. The E & F articles themselves admit that the only difference between the two is the supplier of the on-board inertial guidance system. A,B, and C are prototypes, D is the first operational missle (E and F are just upgrades to the guidance system). I would say to merge A,B,C,D,E,F stubs into one article about the Atlas Missle (SM-65 Atlas).

ATLAS-CENTAUR (merge Atlas G, Atlas I/II/IIA/IIAS stubs all into this article, and put refer tags on the stub articles)

ATLAS III - keep but needs work

ATLAS V - it is in OK shape, there are bigger fish to fry.

IMHO as an engineer, take it or leave it. Please restore the Monday version[1] version to start from, I wrote up an awesome lede and other edits ... Ajh1492 (talk) 19:54, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

As N2e suggested above, I think it would be helpful to discuss one issue at a time. That said, I will reply to the three points you have made, although it would be good if we can keep further comments on one issue at a time, or at least one issue per section.
  • A) I think we've both agreed that a paragraph about the Atlas V near the beginning of the article is a good idea. The problem is that the edit to the article placed an entire section at the top of the article, removing most of the Atlas V content from the chronological section. A paragraph at the end of the lead - i.e. part of the lead - would be a more appropriate way to handle it.
I hadn't finished writing the Atlas V section to go below before you reverted the entire article. Ajh1492 (talk) 07:07, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • B) Many of the "breakpoints" you define seem to be subjective - by your own admission you "don't count some length stretching and deletion of the verniers". While I agree the Atlas V was a major departure from the previous rockets (for the record, the Atlas III did have balloon tanks), it is still considered part of the Atlas family, and who are we to say that it is not. With regards splitting the table, what is the advantage of having four tables over one, in which all the variants are displayed together and can be more easily identified? There are other ways to split the variants - by upper stage is more common on other sites.
I, nor LM, considered deletions of the verniers to be significant enough to completely version the launch vehicle. The article is about the family of the lower stage and shows the evolution of that, the upper stages (Agena, Centaur, ACES) have their own articles. This is especially true about the future of the atlas family with ULA looking at using a common upper stage across Atlas and Delta, plus the new NASA study contract to ORB & PWR about a "common upper stage" across all LVs. Franky I'd delete the tables and put them into the category articles - their extraneous detail not necessary at the family article level. If you feel strongly about grouping Atlas III in with Atlas V, they break it out into a transition category showing common traits with both the "original" Atlas and Atlas V. Ajh1492 (talk) 07:07, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • C) In addition to the problems I raised in (b), the other problem with your proposed mergers is that the articles you dismiss as "stubs" may currently be stubs, but they all have potential to be expanded; if I had the time I could get two or three GAs out of the articles you are proposing to eliminate - and I can't really see any advantage to artificially inflating the scope of some of the other pages - yes the quantity of content will increase, but its quality will be diminished by the addition of marginally-relevant information, and the increased scope would overlap far too much with this article. --W. D. Graham 20:36, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
It frankly sounds like an impasse, you have your opinion, I have mine. They're rather fundamental structural disagreements on article information flow and the role of stubs. I don't feel like getting into an edit war every time I try and contribute anything to the article due to your preconceived notions of what an article structure "should be". Good luck at turning all your stubs into a GAs goldmine! Ajh1492 (talk) 07:07, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

New Atlas derivative rocket, with methane-engine booster[edit]

A new Atlas derivative rocket, with a now-under-development methane-engine booster from Blue Origin, was announced by ULA yesterday. I'm sure there will be a lot of space press coverage about it in many media outlets; I've not yet had time to look. I don't think ULA was explicit about what they are going to name the new rocket, which will use two of the BE-4 engines. Cheers. N2e (talk) 05:15, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

What the new rocket is being called in news accounts:
I have added a bit to the article to describe the new engine that will replace the RD-180, and mention the new booster vehicle. CEO Tory Bruno said that the trade studies for the new booster design would be ongoing into 4Q2014, and they would have the new booster design fleshed out no earlier than the end of 2014. Cheers. N2e (talk) 03:42, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
Just in time because it looks like nobody much wants to talk about the Russian RD-180 brute that powers this series of launchers. There's one line in the entire article, and 3 lines about how the RD-180 is to be replaced sometime in the future. Is it possible that the article could include some informed info on how the RD-180 makes this thing fly? Santamoly (talk) 07:06, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

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