Project 7969 Designs
Project 7969 ballistic designs. From left: Lockheed; Martin; Aeronutronics; Goodyear; McDonnell; Convair
Credit: © Mark Wade
Status: Study 1958. Gross mass: 1,400 kg (3,000 lb). Height: 4.26 m (13.97 ft).
The capsule would be launched by an Atlas-Hustler combination into a 480 km orbit for a 4 hour mission.
Tracking would use the Minitrack System and deorbit would be accomplished by retrorocket providing a 60 m/sec braking impulse. Spacecraft attitude control was by rocket thrusters and electrically-powered motors. The spacecraft was automatic and no pilot intervention was required. Maximum G-forces during re-entry were 8 g's and either ablative or beryllium heat shields could be used. In case of booster failure during ascent to orbit the capsule would eject from the booster. The spacecraft had a ballistic coefficient (W/CdA) of 500 kg per square meter. Landing precision was within a 650 x 30 km footprint. It was expected that a first manned orbital flight could be achieved 24 months after a go-ahead at a cost of $ 10-100 million.