Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: © Mark Wade
Credit: Ronald Wade
MX-774 in its gantry.
Credit: Ronald Wade
American test vehicle. Project MX-774 inaugurated by AAF with Consolidated-Vultee to study rocket capabilities with an ICBM as a final objective. Limited funds permitted a few test launches. These rockets demonstrated technologies that woud later be applied to the Atlas.

The Air Force contracted for ten MX-774 vehicles, in three phases. Stage A, the Teetotaler, was a sub-sonic, self-guided cruise missile. Stage B, the Old Fashioned, was a test missile using V-2 technology but incorporating new concepts planned for the next phase. Stage C, the Manhattan, was to be an ICBM. The MX-774 was cancelled by the Air Force in 1947 due to budget restrictions and continued Air Force scepticism. Using residual contract and corporate funds, Bossart was able to launch three stage B test vehicles from White Sands after the cancellation.

While none of the launches were completely successful, they did demonstrate Bossart's innovative design concepts including pressurized monocoque propellant tanks. Despite the heavy investment of company funds, the Air Force later directed Bossart to sell the MX-774 development package to TRW for a song. TRW in turn delivered it, in total, to Douglas and Martin to assist them in design of their competing Thor and Titan missiles. There were many hard feelings at Convair about that.

Failures: 3. First Fail Date: 1948-07-14. Last Fail Date: 1948-12-02.

Gross mass: 1,300 kg (2,800 lb).
Height: 9.60 m (31.40 ft).
Diameter: 0.76 m (2.49 ft).
Thrust: 35.00 kN (7,868 lbf).
Apogee: 50 km (31 mi).
First Launch: 1948.07.14.
Last Launch: 1948.12.02.
Number: 3 .

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...

Associated Launch Sites
  • White Sands White Sands Missile Range occupies an area 160 x 65 km in the Tularosa Basin of southern New Mexico, across the Sacramento Mountain range from Roswell. In the 1930's, Robert Goddard, after surveying weather conditions and population densities, had selected Roswell for his pioneering rocket tests. White Sands, a true desert area, was even more unpopulated than Roswell. German advances in rocketry during World War II impelled the US Army to begin programs to exploit this technology. The White Sands Proving Ground was established for testing German and American long-range rockets on 9 July 1945. Seven days later the first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site, near the north boundary of the range. The first launch of a Tiny Tim rocket was on 26 September 1945. On 11 October a Tiny Tim boosted a WAC Corporal rocket from the tower. This was the first use of Launch Complex 33, later to be used for V-2, Nike, Viking, Corporal, Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System testing. More...
  • White Sands LC33 Wac, Viking, V-2, Nike, Javelin, Hermes, Corporal, Atlas, Apache launch complex. LC 33 was the United States' first major rocket launch facility. The original Army Launch Area 1 complex consisted of a blockhouse, several concrete launching pads for captured German V-2 rockets, a 30-m tall launch tower for Aerobee rockets, a gantry and blast pit. More...

Associated Stages
  • MX-774 Lox/Alcohol rocket stage. 35.00 kN (7,868 lbf) thrust. Mass 1,100 kg (2,425 lb). More...

MX-774 Chronology

1948 July 14 - . 01:05 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: MX-774. FAILURE: Cutoff after half of the propellants were used.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • MX-774 Flight 1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). Summary: First Convair MX-774 (RTV-A-2) test rocket was successfully launched, first demonstrating use of gimballed engines and design features later incorporated in the Atlas ICBM. This was the first of three Convair-sponsored test flights..

1948 September 27 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: MX-774. FAILURE: Cutoff at 16 km altitude.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • MX-774 Flight 2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 47 km (29 mi). Summary: Second Corvair MX-774 test rocket fired. Shut down at 15 km; reached 65 km before malfunction of unknown origin caused self-destruction..

1948 December 2 - . 22:01 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Complex: White Sands LC33. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: MX-774. FAILURE: Vibration closed valve early..
  • MX-774 Flight 3 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi). Summary: Third (last) MX-774 launched, WSPG; shut down at 51 seconds attaining an altitude of 48 km. Self-destructed at high altitude..

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