Author Topic: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary  (Read 3271 times)

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SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« on: 09/27/2016 12:46 AM »
Atlas: The ICBM 1957 US Air Force; Post-Sputnik Missile Gap Concerns Addressed

Jeff Quitney

Published on Sep 26, 2016

Post-Sputnik overview of progress on the SM-65 Atlas ICBM, loaded with Cold War deep concern that the Russkis are ahead in missile development. Features Atlas first flight launch & explosion, 2nd flight blow up, 3rd flight, and a pep-talk from program head General Bernard Schriever.

United States Air Force film SFP-583

The SM-65 Atlas was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed and deployed by the United States. It was built for the U.S. Air Force by Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego, California. Atlas became operational as an ICBM in October 1959 and was used as a first stage for satellite launch vehicles for half a century. The Atlas missile's warhead was over 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped over Nagasaki in 1945.

An initial development contract was given to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) on 16 January 1951 for what was then called MX-1593, but at a relatively low priority. The 1953 testing of the first dry fuel H-bomb in the Soviet Union led to the project being dramatically accelerated. The initial design completed by Convair in 1953 was larger than the missile that eventually entered service. Estimated warhead weight was lowered from 8,000 lb (3,630 kg) to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) based on highly favorable U.S. nuclear warhead tests in early 1954, and on 14 May 1954 the Atlas program was formally given the highest national priority. A major development and test contract was awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10-foot (3 m) diameter missile to weigh about 250,000 lb (113,400 kg). Atlas development was tightly controlled by the Air Force's Western Development Division, WDD, later part of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division... The first successful flight of a highly instrumented Atlas missile to full range occurred 28 November 1958. Atlas ICBMs were deployed operationally from 31 October 1959 to 12 April 1965.

On 18 December 1958, the launch of Atlas 10B sent the missile into orbit around the Earth (without use of an upper stage) carrying the "SCORE" (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) communications payload. Atlas 10B/SCORE, at 8,750 lb (3,970 kg) was the heaviest man-made object then in orbit, the first voice relay satellite, and the first man-made object in space easily visible to the naked eye due to the large, mirror-polished stainless steel tank... Many retired Atlas ICBMs would be used as launch vehicles, most with an added spin-stabilized solid rocket motor upper stage for polar orbit military payloads. Even before its military use ended in 1965, Atlas had placed four Project Mercury astronauts in orbit and was becoming the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles, most notably Atlas Agena and Atlas Centaur.

Mergers led to the acquisition of the Atlas Centaur line by Lockheed Martin which in turn became part of the United Launch Alliance. Today Lockheed Martin and ULA support a new Atlas rocket family based on the larger "Atlas V" which still uses the unique and highly efficient Centaur upper stage. Atlas V stage one is powered by a Russian RD-180 oxygen/kerosene engine and uses conventional aluminum isogrid tankage rather than the thin-wall, pressure-stabilized stainless steel tanks of the original Convair Atlas. Payload weights have increased along with launch vehicle weights over the years so the current Atlas V family serves many of the same type commercial, DoD, and planetary missions as earlier Atlas Centaurs.

Public domain film from the US Government, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKK-L30xLy0?t=001






Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #1 on: 09/27/2016 04:01 AM »
Atlas, Titan & Minuteman Ballistic Missiles "The 10,000 Mile Production Line" 1962 USAF

Jeff Quitney

Published on Apr 1, 2016

On the Atlas, Titan, and Minuteman ICBM programs. US Air Force Film Report FR-242 1 February 1962.

The SM-65 Atlas was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed and deployed by the United States. It was built for the U.S. Air Force by Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego, California. Atlas became operational as an ICBM in October 1959 and was used as a first stage for satellite launch vehicles for half a century. The Atlas missile's warhead was over 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped over Nagasaki in 1945.

An initial development contract was given to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) on 16 January 1951 for what was then called MX-1593, but at a relatively low priority. The 1953 testing of the first dry fuel H-bomb in the Soviet Union led to the project being dramatically accelerated. The initial design completed by Convair in 1953 was larger than the missile that eventually entered service. Estimated warhead weight was lowered from 8,000 lb (3,630 kg) to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) based on highly favorable U.S. nuclear warhead tests in early 1954, and on 14 May 1954 the Atlas program was formally given the highest national priority. A major development and test contract was awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10-foot (3 m) diameter missile to weigh about 250,000 lb (113,400 kg). Atlas development was tightly controlled by the Air Force's Western Development Division, WDD, later part of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division... The first successful flight of a highly instrumented Atlas missile to full range occurred 28 November 1958. Atlas ICBMs were deployed operationally from 31 October 1959 to 12 April 1965.

On 18 December 1958, the launch of Atlas 10B sent the missile into orbit around the Earth (without use of an upper stage) carrying the "SCORE" (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) communications payload. Atlas 10B/SCORE, at 8,750 lb (3,970 kg) was the heaviest man-made object then in orbit, the first voice relay satellite, and the first man-made object in space easily visible to the naked eye due to the large, mirror-polished stainless steel tank... Many retired Atlas ICBMs would be used as launch vehicles, most with an added spin-stabilized solid rocket motor upper stage for polar orbit military payloads. Even before its military use ended in 1965, Atlas had placed four Project Mercury astronauts in orbit and was becoming the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles, most notably Atlas Agena and Atlas Centaur.

Mergers led to the acquisition of the Atlas Centaur line by Lockheed Martin which in turn became part of the United Launch Alliance. Today Lockheed Martin and ULA support a new Atlas rocket family based on the larger "Atlas V" which still uses the unique and highly efficient Centaur upper stage. Atlas V stage one is powered by a Russian RD-180 oxygen/kerosene engine and uses conventional aluminum isogrid tankage rather than the thin-wall, pressure-stabilized stainless steel tanks of the original Convair Atlas. Payload weights have increased along with launch vehicle weights over the years so the current Atlas V family serves many of the same type commercial, DoD, and planetary missions as earlier Atlas Centaurs.

Public domain film from the US Government, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).



Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #2 on: 11/10/2017 02:59 AM »
bump for an additional video...

2nd Atlas ICBM Launch & Blowup: "Flight Test Report of Atlas Missile 6A" 1957-09-25 Convair

Jeff Quitney
Published on Nov 9, 2017

SM-65 Atlas second flight on 25 September 1957 ends early in the flight because of an engine shutdown after a failure in the fuel system. The Atlas was destroyed by the range safety officer at 63.6 seconds after liftoff.


The SM-65 Atlas was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed and deployed by the United States. It was built for the U.S. Air Force by Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego, California. Atlas became operational as an ICBM in October 1959 and was used as the first stage for satellite launch vehicles for half a century. The Atlas missile's warhead was over 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

An initial development contract was given to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) on 16 January 1951 for what was then called MX-1593, but at a relatively low priority. The 1953 testing of the first dry fuel H-bomb in the Soviet Union led to the project being dramatically accelerated. The initial design completed by Convair in 1953 was larger than the missile that eventually entered service. Estimated warhead weight was lowered from 8,000 lb (3,630 kg) to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) based on highly favorable U.S. nuclear warhead tests in early 1954, and on 14 May 1954, the Atlas program was formally given the highest national priority. A major development and test contract were awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10-foot (3 m) diameter missile to weigh about 250,000 lb (113,400 kg). Atlas development was tightly controlled by the Air Force's Western Development Division, WDD, later part of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division... The first successful flight of a highly instrumented Atlas missile to full range occurred 28 November 1958. Atlas ICBMs were deployed operationally from 31 October 1959 to 12 April 1965.

On 18 December 1958, the launch of Atlas 10B sent the missile into orbit around the Earth (without the use of an upper stage) carrying the "SCORE" (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) communications payload. Atlas 10B/SCORE, at 8,750 lb (3,970 kg) was the heaviest man-made object then in orbit, the first voice relay satellite, and the first man-made object in space easily visible to the naked eye due to the large, mirror-polished stainless steel tank... Many retired Atlas ICBMs would be used as launch vehicles, most with an added spin-stabilized solid rocket motor upper stage for polar orbit military payloads. Even before its military use ended in 1965, Atlas had placed four Project Mercury astronauts in orbit and was becoming the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles, most notably Atlas Agena and Atlas-Centaur.

Mergers led to the acquisition of the Atlas-Centaur line by Lockheed Martin which in turn became part of the United Launch Alliance. Today Lockheed Martin and ULA support a new Atlas rocket family based on the larger "Atlas V" which still uses the unique and highly efficient Centaur upper stage. Atlas V stage one is powered by a Russian RD-180 oxygen/kerosene engine and uses conventional aluminum isogrid tankage rather than the thin-wall, pressure-stabilized stainless steel tanks of the original Convair Atlas. Payload weights have increased along with launch vehicle weights over the years so the current Atlas V family serves many of the same type commercial, DoD, and planetary missions as earlier Atlas Centaurs.

---------------------------------------

Originally a public domain film from the US Air Force slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

There is a broadband hum in the vocal frequencies of this film which I cannot completely remove.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34UFPREjCGA?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #3 on: 12/31/2017 03:44 AM »
Project SCORE Atlas Missile into Orbit: "Convair Astronautics High Lights 1958"; Atlas B Launches

Jeff Quitney
Published on Dec 30, 2017

Review of SM-65 Atlas missile progress in 1958, mostly covering launches of the SM-65B (Atlas B). Ends with the Project SCORE launch of an entire Atlas missile into orbit.

Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) was the world’s first communications satellite. Launched aboard an American Atlas rocket on December 18, 1958, SCORE provided the first test of a communications relay system in space, as well as the first successful use of the Atlas as a launch vehicle. It captured world attention by broadcasting a Christmas message via shortwave radio from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower through an onboard tape recorder. The satellite was popularly dubbed "The Talking Atlas". SCORE, as a geopolitical strategy, placed the United States at an even technological par with the Soviet Union as a highly functional response to the Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 satellites.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM-65B_Atlas

The Convair SM-65B Atlas, or Atlas B, also designated X-12 was a prototype of the Atlas missile. First flown on 19 July 1958, the Atlas B was the first version of the Atlas rocket to use the stage and a half design with an operational sustainer engine and jettisonable rocket booster section. Unlike later Atlas models, the Atlas B used explosive bolts to jettison the booster section.

Ten flights were made. Nine of these were sub-orbital test flights of the Atlas as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, with five successful missions and four failures. The seventh flight, launched on 18 December 1958, was used to place the SCORE satellite into low Earth orbit, the first orbital launch conducted by an Atlas rocket...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM-65_Atlas

The SM-65 Atlas was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed and deployed by the United States. It was built for the U.S. Air Force by Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego, California. Atlas became operational as an ICBM in October 1959 and was used as the first stage for satellite launch vehicles for half a century.

An initial development contract was given to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) on 16 January 1951 for what was then called MX-1593, but at a relatively low priority. The 1953 testing of the first dry fuel H-bomb in the Soviet Union led to the project being dramatically accelerated... on 14 May 1954 the Atlas program was formally given the highest national priority. A major development and test contract were awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10-foot (3 m) diameter missile to weigh about 250,000 lb (113,400 kg)... The first successful flight of a highly instrumented Atlas missile to full range occurred 28 November 1958. Atlas ICBMs were deployed operationally from 31 October 1959 to 12 April 1965.

On 18 December 1958, the launch of Atlas 10B sent the missile into orbit around the Earth (without the use of an upper stage) carrying the "SCORE" (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) communications payload. Atlas 10B/SCORE, at 8,750 lb (3,970 kg) was the heaviest man-made object then in orbit, the first voice relay satellite, and the first man-made object in space easily visible to the naked eye due to the large, mirror-polished stainless steel tank... Even before its military use ended in 1965, Atlas had placed four Project Mercury astronauts in orbit and was becoming the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles, most notably Atlas Agena and Atlas-Centaur.

Mergers led to the acquisition of the Atlas-Centaur line by Lockheed Martin which in turn became part of the United Launch Alliance. Today Lockheed Martin and ULA support a new Atlas rocket family based on the larger "Atlas V" which still uses the unique and highly efficient Centaur upper stage. Atlas V stage one is powered by a Russian RD-180 oxygen/kerosene engine and uses conventional aluminum isogrid tankage... Payload weights have increased along with launch vehicle weights over the years so the current Atlas V family serves many of the same type commercial, DoD, and planetary missions as earlier Atlas Centaurs.

-------------------------------------------------
Originally a public domain film from the US Air Force, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n--OTLpE29Y?t=001


Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #4 on: 01/15/2018 01:31 AM »
Conversion of Atlas Missiles to Launch Vehicles: "The Second Time Around" ~ 1968 USAF SMSO

Jeff Quitney
Published on Jan 14, 2018

Review of the conversion of SM-65F Atlas ICBM missiles to satellite launch vehicles.

The SM-65F Atlas, or Atlas-F, was the final operational variant of the Atlas missile, only differing from the Atlas E in the launch facility and guidance package used. It first flew on 8 August 1961 and was deployed as an operational ICBM between 1961 and 1966. Following retirement as an ICBM, the Atlas-F, along with the Atlas-E, was refurbished for orbital launches as the Atlas E/F.

The Atlas E and F also differed in their launch facilities; Atlas E utilized the same coffin silos as Atlas D missiles, with the missile stored horizontally and raised upright for launch. Atlas F for comparison used a vertical silo with an elevator similar to the Titan I. The Atlas F was originally conceived when the Air Force decided that the coffin silos used for the Atlas D and E were too exposed and vulnerable to enemy attack.

Atlas E and F used the MA-3 propulsion system which had a separate gas generator for all three engines, unlike the Atlas D where one gas generator drove both booster turbopumps. In addition, they used pyrotechnic cartridges for rapid starting and the gas generators and pumps were mounted on each booster engine instead of being placed in the central thrust section. Total thrust of the MA-3 was 375,000 pounds.

Atlas E/F used the ARMA inertial guidance system rather than Atlas D's radio ground guidance; some IOC (Initial Operational Capability) Atlas D flights tested the ARMA system instead of the standard GE Mod II radio guidance. Aside from minor differences in the ARMA on the Atlas E and F, the major difference between the two consisted of differently-placed quick fill lines for the two silo systems used.

Most refurbished Atlas F space launches used solid-fueled upper stages, a notable exception being Missile 23F which launched Seasat, a NASA oceanography satellite, on June 27, 1978, using the last-ever Agena stage flown. The final Atlas F launch took place on June 23, 1981, when Missile 87F successfully placed a NOAA weather satellite into orbit. Atlas E/F space launchers were given an extensive tear-down and rebuild by Convair and the ARMA system replaced with the GE Mod II guidance system.

There were two major failures during the 20 years as a satellite launcher.

Atlas F launches were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, at Launch Complexes 11 and 13, and Vandenberg Air Force Base at OSTF-2, LC-576, and SLC-3. A total of 55 Atlas F missile tests were conducted between 1961 and 1974, the post-1965 launches all being tests of reentry vehicles as Atlas had been retired from ICBM service, along with 39 space launches during 1967 to 1981. There were 16 failures.
----------------------------------------------------------
Originally a public domain film from the US Air Force slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.

The bad color on this film was beyond correction, so it was removed, leaving the film black and white.

The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

There is a broadband hum in the vocal frequencies of this film which I cannot completely remove.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DKRYLGAbnE?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #5 on: 03/12/2018 10:00 PM »
Atlas Missile Flight Test Review 1959 Convair Astronautics-US Air Force ICBM

Jeff Quitney
Published on Mar 12, 2018

SM-65 Atlas Project: Summary of the 23 flight tests of the Atlas ICBM in 1959. Includes the first launch of an ICBM missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base (Atlas 12D), and an unmanned Project Mercury capsule launch from Cape Canaveral  (Atlas 10D).

General Dynamics Convair film

The SM-65 Atlas was the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed and deployed by the United States. It was built for the U.S. Air Force by Convair Division of General Dynamics at the Kearny Mesa assembly plant north of San Diego, California. Atlas became operational as an ICBM in October 1959 and was used as the first stage for satellite launch vehicles for half a century. The Atlas missile's warhead was over 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped over Nagasaki in 1945.

An initial development contract was given to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) on 16 January 1951 for what was then called MX-1593 but at a relatively low priority. The 1953 testing of the first dry fuel H-bomb in the Soviet Union led to the project being dramatically accelerated. The initial design completed by Convair in 1953 was larger than the missile that eventually entered service. Estimated warhead weight was lowered from 8,000 lb (3,630 kg) to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) based on highly favorable U.S. nuclear warhead tests in early 1954, and on 14 May 1954, the Atlas program was formally given the highest national priority. A major development and test contract were awarded to Convair on 14 January 1955 for a 10-foot (3 m) diameter missile to weigh about 250,000 lb (113,400 kg). Atlas development was tightly controlled by the Air Force's Western Development Division, WDD, later part of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division... The first successful flight of a highly instrumented Atlas missile to full range occurred 28 November 1958. Atlas ICBMs were deployed operationally from 31 October 1959 to 12 April 1965.

On 18 December 1958, the launch of Atlas 10B sent the missile into orbit around the Earth (without the use of an upper stage) carrying the "SCORE" (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) communications payload. Atlas 10B/SCORE, at 8,750 lb (3,970 kg) was the heaviest man-made object then in orbit, the first voice relay satellite, and the first man-made object in space easily visible to the naked eye due to the large, mirror-polished stainless steel tank... Many retired Atlas ICBMs would be used as launch vehicles, most with an added spin-stabilized solid rocket motor upper stage for polar orbit military payloads. Even before its military use ended in 1965, Atlas had placed four Project Mercury astronauts in orbit and was becoming the foundation for a family of successful space launch vehicles, most notably Atlas Agena and Atlas-Centaur.

Mergers led to the acquisition of the Atlas-Centaur line by Lockheed Martin which in turn became part of the United Launch Alliance. Today Lockheed Martin and ULA support a new Atlas rocket family based on the larger "Atlas V" which still uses the unique and highly efficient Centaur upper stage. Atlas V stage one is powered by a Russian RD-180 oxygen/kerosene engine and uses conventional aluminum isogrid tankage rather than the thin-wall, pressure-stabilized stainless steel tanks of the original Convair Atlas. Payload weights have increased along with launch vehicle weights over the years so the current Atlas V family serves many of the same type commercial, DoD, and planetary missions as earlier Atlas Centaurs.
-----------------------------------------------
Originally a public domain film from the US Air Force, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

There is a broadband hum in the vocal frequencies of this film which I cannot completely remove.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYvj8XWI9T0?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #6 on: 03/13/2018 12:19 PM »
^^

For the last launch of SM-65D for 1959 (missile 40D)  the video stated that this was the first launch to use the new "dry start" procedure.  Anyone know what that entailed?

Just imagine the "leg up" that modern spacelaunch companies have because of pioneering work like this.  I would think that this type of experimentation could break a private company without governmental backing..
Paul

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #7 on: 03/13/2018 12:24 PM »
^^

For the last launch of SM-65D for 1959 (missile 40D)  the video stated that this was the first launch to use the new "dry start" procedure.  Anyone know what that entailed?


No fluid in the engine.  Wet start had an inert fluid in the nozzle tubes.

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #8 on: 03/15/2018 08:17 PM »
In the preview of the video, it shows Missile 3D which was the first Atlas D test on 4/14/59. The LOX fill and drain valve did not close at liftoff, causing an almost immediate drop in B-2 engine thrust. The missile lifted and flew on an abnormal flight path due to the imbalanced thrust, and at T+26 seconds, an explosion caused the booster section to rip away from the missile. The Atlas slowly sank towards Earth until being destructed by RSO action at T+35 seconds.

The LOX fill and drain valve failure was found to have been caused by a breakdown of the butterfly acutator shaft, so GD/A specified that the shafts be made of steel rather than aluminum starting with Missile 25D. There was also a propellant explosion at liftoff caused by a fuel leak, apparently due to ground crews neglecting to purge the fuel fill and drain line during the prelaunch countdown. The explosion apparently resulted in no damage to the missile.

This photo shows the booster section post-flight. It appears to have separated from the missile and landed mostly in one piece--the booster engines and thrust barrel are all together and not blown apart. One thing that I'm not entirely clear on is the exact cause of the thrust section explosion at 26 seconds--GD/A docs I've seen do not offer any explanation (although I've never seen the actual postflight report for 3D), but I've included this comment section from The Space Review where a guy says that it was due to unstable B-2 engine combustion from the LOX loss.

The sustainer and verniers continued operating until final missile destruction and performance of them was normal until the thrust section explosion, at which point a major drop in sustainer thrust occurred.

Offline WallE

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Re: SM-65 Atlas ICBM - Historic Documentary
« Reply #9 on: 04/24/2018 01:39 PM »
Actually now I'm wondering if the source of the thrust section explosion on 3D wasn't actually the B-2 turbopump since it's quite possible that it oversped and failed due to the loss of LOX. From the film of the launch, the explosion seems to emanate from the central thrust section, not the booster engines as was the case on 51D and 48D. CriticalPast has a film of liftoff taken from the B-1 side and you can see the LOX really coming out fast. One wonders how much was still left in the tank when the flight terminated.

Running fuel rich isn't as bad as running LOX rich, but rocket turbopumps don't tend to react well to running unloaded and it's easy to assume that pressure in the LOX feed system on 3D eventually dropped to the point where the B-2 pump oversped. It's notable that the B-1 engine and sustainer/verniers apparently ran at normal performance and were unaffected until the explosion at 26 seconds. Aftermath photos (like the one I posted earlier) show that the booster engines and their associated plumbing were badly burned, but photos of 3D's recovered sustainer hardware show almost no fire damage.
« Last Edit: 04/25/2018 09:59 AM by WallE »

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