Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas II



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Atlas 2
Atlas 2 - AC-102 - COSPAR 1991-083
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Atlas 2
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Atlas III
Atlas II Variants - Atlas IIA and IIAS
Credit: © Mark Wade
American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas II booster was 2.7-meters longer than an Atlas I and included uprated Rocketdyne MA-5A engines. The Atlas I vernier engines were replaced with a hydrazine roll control system. The Centaur stage was stretched 0.9-meters compared to the Centaur I stage. Fixed foam insulation replaced Atlas I's jettisonable insulation panels. The original Atlas II model was developed to support the United States Air Force Medium Launch Vehicle II program. Its Centaur used RL10A-3-3A engines operating at an increased mixture ratio. The first Atlas II flew on 7 December 1991, successfully delivering AC-102/Eutelsat II F3 to orbit.

LEO Payload: 6,580 kg (14,500 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.50 degrees. Payload: 2,810 kg (6,190 lb) to a GTO. Launch Price $: 85.000 million in 1994 dollars.

Stage Data - Atlas II

  • Stage 0. 1 x Atlas MA-5A. Gross Mass: 4,187 kg (9,230 lb). Empty Mass: 4,187 kg (9,230 lb). Thrust (vac): 2,093.700 kN (470,682 lbf). Isp: 299 sec. Burn time: 172 sec. Isp(sl): 263 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: RS-56-OBA. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Atlas II. Gross Mass: 161,995 kg (357,137 lb). Empty Mass: 6,095 kg (13,437 lb). Thrust (vac): 386.300 kN (86,844 lbf). Isp: 316 sec. Burn time: 283 sec. Isp(sl): 220 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Length: 24.90 m (81.60 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RS-56-OSA. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Centaur II. Gross Mass: 18,833 kg (41,519 lb). Empty Mass: 2,053 kg (4,526 lb). Thrust (vac): 146.800 kN (33,002 lbf). Isp: 444 sec. Burn time: 488 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Length: 10.10 m (33.10 ft). Propellants: Lox/LH2. No Engines: 2. Engine: RL-10A-3A. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x IABS. Gross Mass: 1,578 kg (3,478 lb). Empty Mass: 275 kg (606 lb). Thrust (vac): 980 N (220 lbf). Isp: 312 sec. Burn time: 60 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 2.90 m (9.50 ft). Span: 2.90 m (9.50 ft). Length: 0.68 m (2.23 ft). Propellants: N2O4/MMH. No Engines: 2. Engine: R-4D. Other designations: Integrated Apogee Boost Subsystem. Status: In Production.

Gross mass: 187,600 kg (413,500 lb).
Payload: 6,580 kg (14,500 lb).
Height: 47.50 m (155.80 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 2,110.60 kN (474,482 lbf).
Apogee: 185 km (114 mi).
First Launch: 1991.12.07.
Last Launch: 1998.03.16.
Number: 10 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Spacebus 100 French communications satellite. 12 launches, 1975.08.26 (Symphonie 2) to 1994.01.24 (Eutelsat II F5). 3-axis stabilized using bipropellant thrusters (750 kg propellant - unified with apogee insertion and maneuvering propulsion) and momentum wheels. More...
  • DSCS III American military communications satellite. 15 launches, 1982.10.30 (DSCS III-01) to 2003.08.29 (USA 170). DSCS satellites provided secure voice and data communications for the US military. More...
  • HS 601 American communications satellite bus. First launch 1990.01.09. 3-axis unified ARC 22 N and one Marquardt 490 N bipropellant thrusters, Sun and Barnes Earth sensors and two 61 Nms 2-axis gimbaled momentum bias wheels. More...

Associated Engines
  • R-4D Marquardt N2O4/MMH rocket engine. 0.490 kN. Isp=312s. Developed as attitude control thruster for the Apollo Service and Lunar Modules in 1960s. In production for numerous satellites for apogee / perigee maneuvers, orbit adjustment, and attitude control. More...
  • RL-10A-3A Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 73.4 kN. Isp=444s. Used on Centaur stage atop Atlas G, Atlas I, Atlas II, Titan 4. First flight 1984. More...
  • RS-56-OBA Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1046.8 kN. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=299s. Booster engine for Atlas II, IIA, IIAS. First flight 1991. More...
  • RS-56-OSA Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 386.4 kN. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=316s. Sustainer engine for Atlas II, IIA, IIAS. First flight 1991. 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 Programs
  • Eutelsat EUTELSAT regional geostationary telecommunication satellite for European countries. Operated by the EUTELSAT organization. More...
  • UHF US Navy communications satellite network; Ultra High Frequency Follow On. 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 LC36A Atlas launch complex. Launch site built in 1960 for NASA's Atlas/Centaur development program, and used for launches of that launch vehicle until its retirement. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36B Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas Centaur launch pad, in service from 1964 until the retirement of the launch vehicle. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas II Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 161,995/6,095 kg. Thrust 386.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 316 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-5A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 4,187/4,187 kg. Thrust 2,093.70 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 299 seconds. More...
  • Centaur II Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 18,833/2,053 kg. Thrust 146.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. More...
  • IABS N2O4/MMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,578/275 kg. Thrust 0.98 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 312 seconds. More...

Atlas II Chronology


1991 December 7 - . 22:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-102 / Centaur II 8102.
  • Eutelsat II F3 - . Mass: 1,874 kg (4,131 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: Eutelsat. Program: Eutelsat. Class: Communications. Type: Civilian communications satellite. Spacecraft: Spacebus 100. USAF Sat Cat: 21803 . COSPAR: 1991-083A. Apogee: 35,802 km (22,246 mi). Perigee: 35,769 km (22,225 mi). Inclination: 2.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Stationed at 16 deg E. Telecommunications satellite. French registration 1991-8. Transfer orbit was 663 min, 200 x 36000 km x 7.0 deg. Registered by France in ST/SG/SER.E/249 until EUTELSAT can register the satellite. EUTELSAT is the European Telecommunications Satellite Organi zation. Launch vehicle put payload into supersynchronous earth orbit with IFR trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 16 deg E in 1992-1998; 36 deg E in 1999. As of 1 September 2001 located at 21.51 deg E drifting at 0.017 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 74.40E drifting at 3.531W degrees per day.

1992 February 11 - . 00:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-101 / Centaur II 8101.
  • USA 78 - . Payload: DSCS III B-14. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 21873 . COSPAR: 1992-006A. Apogee: 35,503 km (22,060 mi). Perigee: 30,675 km (19,060 mi). Inclination: 0.9000 deg. Period: 1,300.50 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; at 135 deg W in 1995..

1992 July 2 - . 21:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-103 / Centaur II 8103.
  • USA 82 - . Payload: DSCS III B-12. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 22009 . COSPAR: 1992-037A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,775 km (22,229 mi). Inclination: 0.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 12 deg W in 1995-1996. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C).

1993 July 19 - . 22:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-104 / Centaur II 8104.
  • USA 93 - . Payload: DSCS III B-9. Mass: 2,615 kg (5,765 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 22719 . COSPAR: 1993-046A. Apogee: 35,764 km (22,222 mi). Perigee: 183 km (113 mi). Inclination: 26.1000 deg. Period: 625.80 min. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 175 deg E in 1995-1997.

1993 November 28 - . 23:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-106 / Centaur II 8106.
  • USA 97 - . Payload: DSCS III B-10. Mass: 2,615 kg (5,765 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 22915 . COSPAR: 1993-074A. Apogee: 35,501 km (22,059 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 26.4000 deg. Period: 625.40 min. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 52 deg W in 1995; 60 deg E in 1997. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C).

1995 January 29 - . 01:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-112 / Centaur II 8110.
  • USA 108 - . Payload: UHF F/O F4. Mass: 3,023 kg (6,664 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: HCI. Program: UHF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 23467 . COSPAR: 1995-003A. Apogee: 35,799 km (22,244 mi). Perigee: 35,775 km (22,229 mi). Inclination: 2.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: UHF Follow-On #4; US Navy communications . Stationed at 177.0 deg W. Launch vehicle put payload into subsynchronous earth orbit with MRS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 177 deg W in 1995-1999..

1995 May 31 - . 15:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-116 / Centaur II.
  • USA 111 - . Payload: UHF F/O F5-EHF. Mass: 3,015 kg (6,646 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: UHF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 23589 . COSPAR: 1995-027A. Apogee: 35,796 km (22,242 mi). Perigee: 35,774 km (22,228 mi). Inclination: 4.8000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: UHF Follow-On #5; US Navy communications . Stationed at 72.3 deg E. Launch vehicle put payload into subsynchronous earth orbit with MRS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 72 deg E in 1995-1999..

1995 October 22 - . 08:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-119 / Centaur II.
  • USA 114 - . Payload: UHF F/O F6-EHF. Mass: 3,015 kg (6,646 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: UHF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 23696 . COSPAR: 1995-057A. Apogee: 35,797 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,776 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 5.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: UHF Follow-On #6; US Navy communications. Stationed at 105.3 deg W. Launch vehicle put payload into subsynchronous earth orbit with MRS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 105 deg W in 1995-1999..

1996 July 25 - . 12:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-125.
  • USA 127 - . Payload: UHF F/O F7-EHF. Mass: 3,015 kg (6,646 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: HCI. Program: UHF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 23967 . COSPAR: 1996-042A. Apogee: 35,791 km (22,239 mi). Perigee: 35,784 km (22,235 mi). Inclination: 4.9000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Summary: Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 170 deg W in 1996; 23 deg W in 1996-1999; 100 deg W in 1999. As of 29 July 1999) 99.21 deg W drifting at 0.011 deg W per day. As of 2007 Feb 22 located at 21.85W drifting at 0.014W degrees per day..

1998 March 16 - . 21:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. Launch Pad: SLC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-132.
  • USA 138 - . Payload: UHF F/O F8-EHF. Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Program: UHF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: HS 601. USAF Sat Cat: 25258 . COSPAR: 1998-016A. Apogee: 35,803 km (22,246 mi). Perigee: 35,771 km (22,227 mi). Inclination: 3.3000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. UHF Follow-On F8 was the first Block III UHF Follow-On satellite, replacing the old FLTSATCOM satellites. It carried UHF, EHF and Ka-band transponders, including a video broadcast payload. This was the last Atlas II launch; future Atlas launches would use the Atlas IIA, IIAS and III models. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 172 deg E in 1998-1999.

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