Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas SLV-3



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Atlas SLV
Atlas SLV-3 s/n 7004 / Burner-2 (No Agena) - 1968-08-16
American orbital launch vehicle. Standardized Atlas booster with no or small solid upper stage.

LEO Payload: 800 kg (1,760 lb) to a 300 km orbit at 28.00 degrees.

AKA: SLV-3.
Gross mass: 120,000 kg (260,000 lb).
Payload: 800 kg (1,760 lb).
Height: 21.00 m (68.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,650.00 kN (370,930 lbf).
Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).
First Launch: 1966.06.01.
Last Launch: 1967.04.20.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Atlas Target Docking Adapter American logistics spacecraft. One launch, 1966.06.01, Gemini 9 ATDA. An unpowered Gemini docking collar less the Agena rocket stage, launched one time by an Atlas when the Agena stage was not available. Fairing separation failed. More...

Associated Engines
  • LR105-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 386.4 kN. Atlas E, F. Atlas Sustainer. Gas generator, pump-fed. Separate turbopumps for each booster engine. Isp=316s. First flight 1960. More...
  • LR89-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 822.5 kN. Atlas E, F. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Separate turbopumps for each booster engine. Isp=290s. First flight 1960. 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
  • Gemini Gemini was conceived as an 'upgraded Mercury' to test essential orbital manoeuvring, rendezvous, docking, lifting re-entry, and space walking techniques in the four years between the last Mercury flight and the first scheduled Apollo flight. If fulfilled this mission, and numerous variants that never reached production would have serviced manned space stations and taken Americans around and to the moon - at lower cost and earlier than Apollo. 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...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC14 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. After its final Atlas missile launch, Complex 14 was converted into an Atlas /Agena launch complex, and later turned over to NASA. Complex 14 supported 32 Atlas and Atlas/Agena missions, including four manned Mercury missions and seven unmanned Gemini target vehicle launches. Complexes 11, 12 and 14 were deactivated in 1967. Complex 14 and the gantry on Complex 13 were declared national historic landmarks in April 1984. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3E Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas test facility, originally designated PALC1-2, then LC1-2, and finally upgraded to a Space Launch Facility in 1966. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas Agena SLV-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 117,026/2,326 kg. Thrust 386.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 316 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,174/3,174 kg. Thrust 1,644.96 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 290 seconds. More...

Atlas SLV-3 Chronology


1966 June 1 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC14. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3. LV Configuration: Atlas SLV-3 5304.
  • Gemini 9 ATDA - . Payload: TDA 4. Mass: 794 kg (1,750 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Gemini. Class: Manned. Type: Manned logistics spacecraft. Flight: Gemini 9. Spacecraft: Atlas Target Docking Adapter. Decay Date: 1966-06-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 2186 . COSPAR: 1966-046A. Apogee: 296 km (183 mi). Perigee: 292 km (181 mi). Inclination: 28.8000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. The ATDA achieved a near-circular orbit (apogee 161.5, perigee 158.5 nautical miles). One hour and 40 minutes later, the scheduled launch of Gemini IX-A was postponed by a ground equipment failure which prevented the transfer of updating information from Cape Kennedy mission control center to the spacecraft computer. The mission was recycled for launch on June 3, following a prepared 48-hour recycle plan. Anomalous telemetry indicated some sort of problem with the target, but it was not until Gemini IX rendezvoused with it in orbit that it was seen that fairing separation had failed.

1966 December 21 - . 22:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3. LV Configuration: Atlas SLV-3 7001.
  • Prime 1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). The first test of the X-23A SV-5D lifting body re-entry shape. It was a zero cross-range suborbital flight, with recovery 6935 km downrange. The ballute deployed at 30.440 m, followed by the main parachute at 13,700 m, and the vehicle was descending within 275 m of the target point. Nevertheless the air-snatch was unsuccessful, and the vehicle sank. However 90% of the planned telemetry was successfully transmitted by radio.

1967 March 5 - . 23:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3. LV Configuration: Atlas SLV-3 7002.
  • Prime 2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: The X-23A SV-5D lifting body vehicle demonstrated a 1055 km cross-range manoeuvre, but again air snatch failed..

1967 April 20 - . 01:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas SLV-3. LV Configuration: Atlas SLV-3 7003.
  • Prime 3 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). The full design 1145 km cross range was demonstrated, and the X-23A SV-5D lifting body vehicle was successfully snatched at 3700 m altitude, 8 km from the target point. With this success the rest of the project was cancelled, and the two remaining unflown X-22A's were sent to the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

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