Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas Vega



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Atlas Vega
Credit: NASA
American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas-Vega consisted of an Atlas booster with a storable propellant upper stage. It was planned by NASA at its inception for deep space and planetary missions before the Atlas Centaur was available. Work had already begun when NASA discovered that the CIA and the US Air Force had an essentially identical launch vehicle (Atlas-Hustler, later called Atlas-Agena) in development for the highly classified Corona reconnaisance satellite program. Atlas-Vega was accordingly cancelled.

Status: Development ended 1959.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
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...

Atlas Vega Chronology


During 1958 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Vega.
  • NASA sketches two-crew Mercury follow-on spacecraft - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Johnson, Caldwell. Program: Gemini. Spacecraft: Gemini. In 1958 H. Kurt Strass and Caldwell C. Johnson of NASA's Space Task Group at Langley Field, Virginia.sketched a spacecraft design concept for a two-man orbiting laboratory to be launched by an Atlas-Vega booster. This was one of the earliest sketches of a two-crew Mercury follow-on. The Vega stage was dropped in favour of the Agena a year later, and a similar one-crew Mercury-Agena space station was proposed by McDonnell some years later.

1959 May 9 - . LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Vega.
  • High-resolution photographs of the moon using Vega rocket - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Rosen, Milton. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter. Milton W. Rosen of NASA Headquarters proposed a plan for obtaining high-resolution photographs of the moon. A three-stage Vega would place the payload within a 500-mile diameter circle on the lunar surface. A stabilized retrorocket fired at 500 miles above the moon would slow the instrument package sufficiently to permit 20 photographs to be transmitted at a rate of one picture per minute. Additional Details: here....

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