Encyclopedia Astronautica
Aeronutronics Project 7969

Project 7969 Designs
Project 7969 ballistic designs. From left: Lockheed; Martin; Aeronutronics; Goodyear; McDonnell; Convair
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned spacecraft. Study 1958. Aeronutronics' proposal for the Air Force initial manned space project was a cone-shaped vehicle 2.1 m in diameter with a spherical tip of 30 cm radius. It does not seem to have been seriously considered.

The man within was enclosed in a gimbaled sphere and rotated to line the pilot up with accelerations. The vehicle would be launched by any one of several two-stage vehicles, including the USAF baseline Atlas Hustler. Deorbit would be accomplished by a retrorocket. The spacecraft was automatic and no pilot control functions were needed. The heat shield used graphite shingles. In case of booster failure during ascent to orbit the capsule would be ejected. The spacecraft had a ballistic coefficient (W/CdA) of 300 kg per square meter. Landing precision was within a 160 x 80 km footprint. It was expected that a first manned orbital flight could be only be achieved six years after go-ahead.

Gross mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb).
Height: 2.13 m (6.98 ft).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Man-In-Space-Soonest The beginning of the Air Force's Man-In-Space-Soonest program has been traced back to a staff meeting of General Thomas S Power, Commander of the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) in Baltimore on 15 February 1956. Power wanted studies to begin on manned space vehicles that would follow the X-15 rocketplane. These were to include winged and ballistic approaches - the ballistic rocket was seen as being a militarily useful intercontinental troop and cargo vehicle. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • 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...
  • Atlas Agena A American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D + 1 x Agena A upper stage. Agena originally called 'Hustler', based on engine for cancelled rocket-propelled nuclear warhead pod for B-58 Hustler bomber. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Swenson, Grimwood, Alexander, Charles C, This New Ocean, Government Printing Office, 1966. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Grimwood, James M., Project Mercury: A Chronology, NASA Special Publication-4001.

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