Author Topic: Project Atlas Reports  (Read 12513 times)

Offline jkumpire

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #20 on: 12/14/2017 07:04 PM »
Thank you for this series of reports Tony!

Online catdlr

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #21 on: 12/26/2017 03:34 AM »
Atlas Missile: "Project Atlas Report 2nd Quarter 1958" Convair; 7th & 8th Atlas ICBM Launches

Jeff Quitney
Published on Dec 24, 2017


SM-65 Atlas 7th flight on 5 April 1958 (Atlas 15A) experienced a turbopump failure at T+105 seconds. The 8th flight,  on 3 June 1958 (Atlas 16A), was the third successful flight of the Atlas missile, and the final flight of the "A" series 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 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.

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

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=DVxZ-nnBasY?t=001


Tony De La Rosa

Offline WallE

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #22 on: 12/26/2017 03:23 PM »
Atlas 15A was the third Atlas to have been lost to a turbopump failure. There was a slight drop in pump speed at T+96 seconds and about ten seconds later, the pump shut down. The engines lost thrust and the Atlas fell into the ocean, remaining structurally intact until impact.

The Air Force had known about the pump problems for a while but were reluctant to have them replaced and slow down the test program. There were issues both with the lubricant oil foaming at high altitude and the bearings being knocked loose by the rotation of the pump. The flight of 15A convinced them to change the gearbox pressure and use a different oil that was less prone to foaming, but the bearing problem remained and it brought down two more flights (Thor 127 and Atlas 6B) before the pumps were replaced with an improved model.

At 14:45 in the video when the narrator says that 15A was the last flight with the 270,000 pound booster engines. This is actually incorrect, only the first four Atlas As used those and 15A had the 300,000 pound engines.

There were quite a few repeat Atlas failures due to rushed launch schedules. The engineers usually had an idea of what went wrong the first time it happened, but the Air Force couldn't be bothered to apply the necessary fixes. I'd mentioned before that they lost three Atlases in six months to hydraulic rise-off failures before having the heat shields redesigned.
« Last Edit: 12/26/2017 03:29 PM by WallE »

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #23 on: 01/09/2018 06:29 AM »
Atlas Missile: "Project Atlas Report 4th Quarter 1958" Convair; Atlas ICBM Flight Tests: 9B, 10B, 3C


Jeff Quitney
Published on Jan 8, 2018

SM-65B Atlas: flight tests of the "B" series and "C" series Atlas ICBM, plus work on the "D" series in progress.

General Dynamics Convair film AT-58

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=RL6jzwiWE8o?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #24 on: 01/17/2018 11:34 PM »
Atlas Missile: "Project Atlas Report 1st Quarter 1959" Convair; Atlas ICBM Flight Tests

Jeff Quitney
Published on Jan 17, 2018


SM-65 Atlas: flight tests of the "B" series and "C" series Atlas ICBM, plus work on the "D" series in progress.

General Dynamics Convair film AT-59

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 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.
---------------------------------------------------------
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=OWF3Pan8NGQ?t=001


Tony De La Rosa

Online catdlr

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #25 on: 01/26/2018 06:25 AM »
Atlas Missile: "Project Atlas Report 3rd Quarter 1958" Convair; Atlas ICBM Flight Tests


Jeff Quitney
Published on Jan 25, 2018

SM-65 Atlas Project July 1-Sept 30 1958: flight tests of the "B" series Atlas ICBM, plus work on the "C" series and "D" series in progress.

General Dynamics Convair film AT-52

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 original soundtrack of this film is lost. I have added music from YouTube's library.

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

Tony De La Rosa

Offline WallE

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #26 on: 01/26/2018 04:54 PM »
Atlas 3B is a frequent staple of rocket whoopsie highlight reels. The yaw gyro motor failed and it tumbled wildly out of control before breaking up at the forward end of the LOX tank at T+43 seconds. An article in a 1986 Journal of the British Interplanetary Society claims the ground crews forgot to power on the yaw gyro during prelaunch preparations, but GD/A docs do not support this claim or offer any explanation in particular for the malfunction. This and a couple more gyroscope malfunctions led to the implementation of the Spin Motor Detection System, which wasn't fully phased into Atlas vehicles until 1961.

A small thrust section fire on 3B led to the lube oil vent line being moved away from the turbine exhaust on subsequent vehicles, otherwise all missile systems aside from the yaw gyro performed well during the brief flight.

4B was fully successful and marked the first time that Atlas booster jettison and RV separation were performed on a flight. 5B and 8B did well, but then 6B succumbed to a turbopump bearing fail. The booster engines shut down 80 seconds into the launch, the missile pitched, and broke up two seconds later. This and the Thor-Able failure a month earlier finally convinced the Air Force that they needed to replace the turbopumps with an improved model. 6B also had a launcher release malfunction at liftoff which tore holes in the B-1 thrust structure but it having anything to do with the flight failure was quickly ruled out.

Atlas 9B was the first test flight of the upgraded pumps, but the mission was rushed and they didn't bother matching the new turbopumps properly to the booster engines, also the pumps used on 9B were C-series models. As a result, the Atlas consumed its fuel supply early and had a premature SECO, causing it to miss the target point in the South Atlantic by almost 900 miles. The roll control during the early portion of flight was also very poor, this necessitated further improvements to the autopilot.

12B was successful and then came the flight of SCORE, the first communications satellite and use of an Atlas for a space launch. For SCORE, they stripped Atlas 10B of all nonessential components including the telemetry and Azusa system and also installed MA-1 engines which had above-normal performance. The flight was mostly prepared in secret and the launch crews thought it was a routine missile test. Reportedly, the Range Safety Officer almost blew the Atlas up when he noticed that the flight trajectory deviated from the normal one used for missile test flights but he was quickly talked out of it. 10B had a slight pitch deviation during launch due to a misaligned gyroscope but a backup command from the ground guidance corrected it. The missile's performance during flight appeared normal as far as could be determined from visual and tracking data (being that there was no telemetry onboard).

Atlas 3C was the last flight of 1958 and tested out the extended 151 second booster burn time successfully.

Online catdlr

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Re: Project Atlas Reports
« Reply #27 on: 02/02/2018 05:12 AM »
Atlas Missile: "Project Atlas Report 3rd Quarter 1959" Convair; Atlas ICBM Flight Tests

Jeff Quitney
Published on Feb 1, 2018

SM-65 Atlas Project July 1-Sept 30 1959: flight tests of the "D" series Atlas ICBM. 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 AT-72

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).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdT6rUJRGXM?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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