Encyclopedia Astronautica
Convair


American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA.

AKA: Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (1943-1953); General Dynamics Convair Division (1953-1994); McDonnell Douglas (1994 to 1997); Boeing (1997-2008).

More... - Chronology...


Associated People
  • MacNabb MacNabb, Byron Gordon (1910-1997) American engineer. Headed Convair operations at Cape Canaveral throughout development flight test of the Atlas. More...
  • Gerrity Gerrity, Thomas Patrick (1913-1968) American officer. Head of Air Force ballistic missile programs 1960-1961. More...
  • Ehricke Ehricke, Krafft Arnold (1917-1984) Visionary German-American engineer. Protege of Thiel at Peenemuende; early concepts for nuclear and Lox/LH2 engines. Left von Braun team, developed Centaur at Convair 1956-1964. Prolific output of advanced concepts, but poor program manager. More...
  • Patterson Patterson, William Howell (1917-1999) American engineer. Part of the Atlas management team. More...
  • Harrison Harrison, John (1919-) American engineer. Manager of Test Operations for the Atlas-Centaur and Titan 3E-Centaur. More...
  • Bowers Bowers, Jack L 'John' (1920-2000) American engineer. Convair corporate officer in charge of Atlas development during the peak of its development phase. More...
  • Hartshorn Hartshorn, Carl Lawrence 'Larry' (1921-2000) American engineer. Chief of Design for Plant Engineering for the Atlas More...
  • Wallace Wallace, Fred (1922-) American engineer. Atlas Chief of Test Operations at Sycamore Canyon. More...
  • Emmerich Emmerich, Lewis (1924-2004) American engineer. Project engineer for the Atlas-Mercury manned launch vehicle. More...
  • Ona Ona, John Bernhardt (1925-2004) American engineer. Headed Atlas missile final checkout; later Chief of Reliability Engineering for the Centaur. More...
  • Culbertson, Philip Culbertson, Philip Edgar (1925-) American aerodynamicist. Managed development of the Atlas space launch version at Convair; then went to NASA, being General Manager at the time of the Challenger disaster. More...
  • Leonard Leonard, Richard (1925-) American engineer. Tooling and plant facilities engineer for the Atlas. More...
  • Wilson, Chuck Wilson, Charles 'Chuck' (1925-) American engineer. Atlas Space Booster Program Manager More...
  • Johnston, Curt Johnston, Curt (1927-) American engineer. Test conductor of earliest Atlas launches; Convair base manager at Vandenberg. More...
  • Wier Wier, Benjamin (1927-) American engineer. Atlas-E flight test conductor and later Deputy Program Manager. More...
  • Genser Genser, Philip (1929-) American engineer. Chief marketer of the Atlas commercial space launch vehicle. More...
  • Marshall Marshall, Frank (1930-) American engineer. Part of the Atlas management team; headed the Golden Ram program that cleared the Atlas missile for operations. More...
  • Farrar Farrar, Jay (1931-) American engineer. Member of the Atlas management team; later President of Sanders Associates. More...
  • Vinzant Vinzant, Allen (1931-) American Chief engineer for interfacing the Centaur upper stage with the Titan 4 launch vehicle. More...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • XP-92 American manned delta-wing rocketplane. Never flown with rockets, but flew as a turbojet-powered research aircraft, 1948-1953. More...
  • Convair Project 7969 American manned spacecraft. Study 1958. Convair's proposal for the Air Force initial manned space project involved a large-scale manned space station. When pressed, they indicated that a minimum vehicle - a 450 kg, 1. More...
  • Outpost American manned space station. Study 1958. In 1958, the year after Sputnik 1, Krafft Ehricke, then with General Dynamics' Convair Division, designed a four-man space station known as Outpost. More...
  • Project Mer American manned spacecraft. Study 1956. April 1958 design of the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics for a Manned Earth Reconnaissance spacecraft - consisting of a cylindrical fuselage and telescoping, inflatable wings for flight in the atmosphere. More...
  • Apollo M-1 American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. Convair/Astronautics preferred M-1 Apollo design was a three-module lunar-orbiting spacecraft. More...
  • Apollo Lenticular American manned spacecraft. Study 1962. The Convair/Astronautics alternate Lenticular Apollo was a flying saucer configuration with the highest hypersonic lift to drag ratio (4.4) of any proposed design. More...
  • EMPIRE General Dynamics American manned Mars flyby. Study 1962. General Dynamics' manned Mars orbiter spacecraft design of 1962 had a total mass of 900 metric tons and would be launched into low earth orbit with a two launches of a Nova booster or eight launches of a Saturn V. More...
  • UMPIRE Convair American manned Mars expedition. Study 1964. Unfavorable Manned Planetary - Interplanetary Roundtrip Expedition profiles were studied under NASA Huntsville contracts to General Dynamics and Douglas in June 1963. More...
  • OV1 American earth magnetosphere satellite. 27 launches, 1965.01.21 (OV1-1) to 1971.08.07 (OV1-21P). More...
  • Space Station Designs - 1982 American manned space station. Study 1982. NASA regarded a permanently manned space station as the next 'logical step' in manned spaceflight after the Space Shuttle entered service in April 1981. More...
  • HGV American spaceplane. Study 1992. The Hypersonic Glide Vehicle was a USAF project discussed openly in 1987 to 1988, which may have flown as a black project in 1992-1993. More...

Associated Engines
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Hiroc American test vehicle, built and flown by Convair in 1945-1947 to test technologies applied to the later Atlas ICBM. More...
  • MX-774 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. More...
  • 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...
  • RIM-2D American surface-to-air missile. Nuclear warhead. More...
  • Concept ICBM American orbital launch vehicle. The January 1951 design for the Atlas used seven main engines plus two vernier engines to hurl the 3600 kg nuclear warhead over a 9300 km range. CEP was optimistically estimated as 460 m. More...
  • Land-Based Version American surface-to-air missile. Land based-version of Terrier surface-to-air missile. Development begun in 1951. Project cancelled in 1956. More...
  • MX-1593 American orbital launch vehicle. The September 1951 design for the Atlas used seven main engines to hurl the 3600 kg nuclear warhead over a 9300 km range. CEP was 1850 m. More...
  • Proposed Atlas American orbital launch vehicle. The April 1953 design for the Atlas at the time of Convair's proposal used five main engines to power a 200 metric tone rocket able to send a 1400 kg nuclear warhead over a 10,200 km range. CEP was 1850 m. More...
  • Contracted Atlas American orbital launch vehicle. The 1954 design for the Atlas as contracted for by the Air Force used three main engines to power a 110 metric ton rocket able to send a 1400 kg nuclear warhead over a 10,200 km range. CEP was 3700 m. The missile actually delivered six years later would have the same dimensions and launch mass, but 63% more range and four times better accuracy. More...
  • World Series American orbital launch vehicle. In May 1956 the Air Force proposed mating an Atlas A with an Aerobee-Hi upper stage in order to launch a satellite during the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958). The Eisenhower administration selected the Vanguard instead. After Sputnik, an Atlas B with no upper stage orbited the Score satellite as a reply to the Soviet's Sputnik 3. More...
  • Atlas A American test vehicle. First test model of Atlas ICBM. Two booster engines, no sustainer, dummy warhead. 50% reliability in 8 flight tests. More...
  • Atlas B American test vehicle. First all-up test version of the Atlas ICBM, with jettisonable booster engines and a single engine sustainer on core - a '1 1/2' stage launch vehicle. More...
  • High Virgo American air-launched test vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x B-58 Hustler + 1 x TX-20 Sergeant More...
  • Atlas C American test vehicle. Last development version of Atlas. Never deployed operationally or used for space launches. More...
  • Atlas Vega 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. More...
  • Atlas D American intercontinental ballistic missile. Rocket used both as a space launcher and ICBM. More...
  • Terrier Standard US Navy solid propellant two-stage extended-range surface-to-air missile. Developed in the 1950's, in service until replaced by the Standard ER in the 1980's. Modified Terrier missiles were used as sounding rockets, sometimes supplemented with upper stages. More...
  • Atlas C Able American orbital launch vehicle. Version with Atlas C first stage, Able AJ10-101A second stage, Altair solid third stage. More...
  • Terrier Asp American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier + 1 x Asp More...
  • Atlas Able American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas with upper stage based on Vanguard second stage. More...
  • Hyperion 1958 American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Hyperion was considered in 1958 as a ca. 1970 Saturn follow-on. It used a small jettisonable chemical booster stage that contained chemical engines and the LOX oxidizer for the conventional engines. More...
  • Atlas D Able American orbital launch vehicle. Version with Atlas D first stage, Able AJ10-101A second stage, Altair solid third stage. More...
  • Atlas Agena A American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D + 1 x Agena A upper stage. Agena originally called 'Hustler', based on engine for cancelled rocket-propelled nuclear warhead pod for B-58 Hustler bomber. More...
  • Atlas E American intercontinental ballistic missile. Initial fully operational version of Atlas ICBM. Differed in guidance system from Atlas F. Deployed as missiles from 1960 to 1966. After retirement, the ICBM's were refurbished and used over twenty years as space launch vehicles. More...
  • CGM-16E American intercontinental ballistic missile. ICBM version More...
  • HGM-16F American intercontinental ballistic missile. ICBM version. Also CGM-16F More...
  • Helios American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Study by Kraft Ehricke of a vehicle where the booster stage contains liquid oxygen tanks only and takes the nuclear second stage to the stratosphere. The nuclear sustainer then takes the payload to orbit or escape trajectory. More...
  • Nova B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Convair/Ehricke Nova design using standard tank/engine modules of 4.9 m diameter in both first and second stages; 6 F-1 engine/modules in first stage, 6 J-2 engine/modules in second stage. More...
  • Nova C American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova A as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage. More...
  • Nova D American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova B as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage. More...
  • Nova A American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. Convair/Ehricke Nova design using standard tank/engine modules of 4.9 m diameter in both first and second stages; 4 F-1 engine/modules in first stage, 4 J-2 engine/modules in second stage. More...
  • Atlas Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with improved, enlarged Agena upper stage. More...
  • Atlas F American intercontinental ballistic missile. Final operational version of Atlas ICBM. Differed in guidance systems. Deployed as missiles from 1961 to 1966. After retirement, the ICBM's were refurbished and used for over thirty years as space launch vehicles. More...
  • Astro IV American orbital launch vehicle. A two-stage all-Lox/LH2 vehicle proposed for the USAF SLV-4 requirement. Ruled out because it did not use the large segmented solids then favored by the USAF and its think tanks. More...
  • Terrier Asp IV American sounding rocket. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier + 1 x Asp IV More...
  • Atlas Centaur American orbital launch vehicle. First test version of Atlas with Centaur upper stage. More...
  • Nexus American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. Early 1960's recoverable launch vehicle proposed by Krafft Ehricke at General Dynamics. Perhaps the largest conventionally-powered launch vehicle ever conceived, it was designed to deliver 900 tonnes to low earth orbit. More...
  • Atlas Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with further improved and lightened Agena upper stage. More...
  • Little Joe II American test vehicle. Little Joe II was an enlarged version of the Little Joe concept used in the Mercury program, used to test the Apollo capsule launch escape system. The vehicle was designed by General Dynamics. Six to nine solid rocket motors were mounted in an aerodynamic finned fairing. More...
  • Little Joe II 6-1-0 American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle consisting of 6 x Recruit + 1 x Algol 1D fired in sequence. More...
  • Nova GD-B American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using existing engines. Recoverable engine package; separation at 3,398 m/s at 76,200 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 7 30 m diameter parachutes 1300 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova GD-E American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 325 inch solid motors as first stage, M-1 engines in second stage. Recoverable solid motors, separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange. Recovery of solid motors forshadowed same approach on shuttle 15 years later. Masses estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova GD-H American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using 1 1/2 stage arrangement and new 2.4 million kgf Lox/LH2 engines. Recoverable booster 4 engine package would separate at 2,980 m/s at 87,800 m altitude; splashdown under 4 46 m diameter parachutes 1,000 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Nova GD-J American heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova design using recoverable Lox/RP-1 stage of ballistic shape with 3 million kgf engines; separation at 3,420 m/s at 93,900 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 7 parachutes 1340 km downrange. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. More...
  • Little Joe II 4-2-0 American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle consisting of 4 x Recruit + 2 x Algol 1D fired in sequence. More...
  • Little Joe II 5-2-2 American test vehicle. Single stage vehicle consisting of 5 x Recruit + 4 x Algol 1D fired in sequence. More...
  • Atlas SLV-3 American orbital launch vehicle. Standardized Atlas booster with no or small solid upper stage. More...
  • SLV-3 Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Standardized Atlas booster with Agena B upper stage. More...
  • Triamese American winged orbital launch vehicle. The General Dynamics proposed an ingenious "Triamese" concept for the US Air Force "Integral Launch & Re-entry Vehicle" program. This system (originally developed in 1965 for a classified USAF SAMSO study) would have utilised three virtually identical reusable booster/orbiter element vehicles rather than develop two different booster and orbiter spaceplanes. General Dynamics estimated that the Triamese only would cost $1-2 billion to develop (=$4.5-9B at 1999 economic conditions) and be operational by 1976. More...
  • Shuttle FR-3 American winged orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase A of October 1969. Unwinged flat-bottom configuration booster and orbiter with V butterfly-tails. More...
  • Shuttle R134C American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell/General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase B, November 1970. Delta wing high-cross range orbiter and booster. More...
  • Shuttle R134G American winged orbital launch vehicle. Rockwell/General Dynamics shuttle proposal phase B, November 1970. Straight wing low-cross range orbiter. More...
  • Atlas F/SVS American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas F + 1 x Star 37E + 1 x Star 37E upper stages. More...
  • Atlas E/SVS American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas E + 1 x Star 37E + 1 x Star 37E upper stages. More...
  • Atlas H American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas H used the Atlas first stage developed for the Atlas G vehicle. It was flown without the Centaur upper stage. More...
  • Atlas E/SGS-2 American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas E + 1 x Star 48 + 1 x Star 48 upper stages. More...
  • LV-3B American orbital launch vehicle. First operational version of Atlas ICBM and used as launch vehicle for Project Mercury. More...
  • Atlas I American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas I launch vehicle was derived from the Atlas G, and included the same basic vehicle components (Atlas booster and Centaur upper stage). Significant improvements in the guidance and control system were made with an emphasis on replacing analog flight control components with digital units interconnected with a digital data bus. More...
  • Atlas II 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. More...
  • Millenium Express American SSTO VTOVL orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Space Systems Division proposal for the 1990 SDIO competition was a VTOL SSTO named Millennium Express. The final vehicle was a 15 degree cone with a 20%-length Rocketdyne aerospike engine. Payload was specified as 4500 kg into a polar low earth orbit. The Express could carry on its nose a payload module, a small Apollo-type two-crew seperable manned capsule, or a six-crew module that remained attached to the vehicle for recovery. The similar Douglas Delta Clipper was selected by the USAF for further development. More...
  • Atlas IIA American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas IIA was a commercial derivative of the Atlas II developed for the US Air Force. Higher performance RL10A-4 (or RL10A-4-1) engines replaced Atlas II's RL10A-3-3A engines. More...
  • Terrier LEAP American anti-ballistic missile. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Terrier Mk 70 + 1 x Mk 30 + 1 x ASAS More...
  • Atlas IIAS American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas II booster was 2.7-meters longer than the 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. Higher performance RL10A-4 or RL10A-4-1 engines replaced Atlas II's RL10A-3-3A. The Atlas IIAS model added four Thiokol Castor IVA solid rocket boosters (SRBs) to the core Atlas stage to augment thrust for the first two minutes of flight. More...
  • Terrier Orion American two-stage, spin-stabilized sounding rocket. It used a Terrier Mk 12 Mod 1 engine for its first stage and an improved Orion motor for its second stage. The Terrier-Orion could loft payloads weighing up to 290 kilograms to altitudes up to 190 kilometers. More...

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

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