Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas C



atlasc.jpg
Atlas C
Credit: US Air Force
American test vehicle. Last development version of Atlas. Never deployed operationally or used for space launches.

LEO Payload: 70 kg (154 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 32.00 degrees. Failures: 2. First Fail Date: 1959-02-20. Last Fail Date: 1959-03-19. Maximum range: 8,000 km (4,900 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 1. Standard RV: Mk. 2/3. Standard warhead: W49. Warhead yield: 1,440 KT. CEP: 3.23 km (2.00 mi). Boost Propulsion: Liquid rocket, Lox/Kerosene. Maximum speed: 29,030 kph (18,030 mph). Initial Operational Capability: 1960. Total Number Built: 381. Total Development Built: 18. Total Production Built: 343.

Stage Data - Atlas C

  • Stage 0. 1 x Atlas MA-2. Gross Mass: 3,050 kg (6,720 lb). Empty Mass: 3,050 kg (6,720 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,517.422 kN (341,130 lbf). Isp: 282 sec. Burn time: 135 sec. Isp(sl): 248 sec. Diameter: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Span: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Length: 0.0000 m ( ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 2. Engine: XLR-89-5. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Atlas B. Gross Mass: 107,610 kg (237,230 lb). Empty Mass: 3,980 kg (8,770 lb). Thrust (vac): 363.218 kN (81,655 lbf). Isp: 309 sec. Burn time: 240 sec. Isp(sl): 215 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Length: 21.90 m (71.80 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: XLR-105-5. Status: Out of Production.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

The XSM-65C Atlas C, flown between December 1958 and August 1959, tested the thin-skinned fuel tanks and the radio-command guidance in production configuration.

AKA: CGM-16C; Atlas C; SM-65C.
Gross mass: 110,740 kg (244,130 lb).
Payload: 70 kg (154 lb).
Height: 25.15 m (82.51 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Span: 4.88 m (16.01 ft).
Thrust: 1,587.20 kN (356,817 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
First Launch: 1958.12.24.
Last Launch: 1959.08.24.
Number: 6 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • XLR105-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 363.2 kN. Atlas D. Atlas Sustainer. Gas generator, pump-fed. Shared turbopumps for booster engines. Isp=309s. First flight 1958. More...
  • XLR89-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 758.7 kN. Atlas D. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Shared turbopumps for booster engines. Isp=282s. First flight 1958. More...

See also
  • 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...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Convair American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC12 Atlas launch complex. The complex was built for the Atlas ballistic missile program. Launch sites 11 to 14 were accepted between August 1957 and mid-April 1958. Complex 12 supported its first Atlas launch on 10 January 1958, and it supported nine Ranger missions and four Mariner missions between 12 August 1961 and 15 June 1967. Complexes 11, 12 and 14 were deactivated in 1967, and Complex 13 was deactivated in April 1978. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas B Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 107,610/3,980 kg. Thrust 363.22 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 309 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,050/3,050 kg. Thrust 1,517.42 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 282 seconds. More...

Atlas C Chronology


1958 January - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C.
  • Scheduled design complete (95%) for Atlas C-series missiles - . Nation: USA.

1958 December 24 - . 04:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 3C.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi). Summary: First Atlas C flight (3C), successful..

1959 January 27 - . 23:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 4C.
  • Mod II re-entry vehicle research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 990 km (610 mi).

1959 February 20 - . 05:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 5C. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 March - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 6C.
  • Atlas 6C blows up. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Missile 6C blows up, destroying ERB Stand 1-A..

1959 March 19 - . 00:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 7C. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • RVX-2 re-entry vehicle research and development mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

1959 July 21 - . 05:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 8C.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-5 test / particles mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi). Summary: A full-scale USAF Atlas ICBM nose cone recovered for the first time after flight down the AMR..

1959 August 24 - . 15:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas C. LV Configuration: Atlas C 11C.
  • Research and development / AFSWC-6 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,400 km (800 mi). Summary: Last successful Atlas C flight (11C); 9C exploded one month later during the Able static firing..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use