Encyclopedia Astronautica
Altus AFB


Atlas F ICBM (SMS 577) base, 1962-1965. The 12 missiles here constituted America's ICBM deterrent force during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Originally a training base in World War II, Altus was reactivated as a transport and bomber base in 1953. It hosted B-47 bombers until 1958, B-52's thereafter. In 1960 the base was designated as headquarters for the 577th Strategic Missile Squadron with twelve Atlas F missiles. The Air Force acquired 52 square kilometers in Oklahoma and Texas for the silo complexes. After a heroic construction effort, the first Atlas F was placed on alert status in August 1962. All 12 were available for nuclear strikes against Russia in the Cuban Missile Crisis two months later. Launch complex 577-6 was destroyed in an explosion on 14 May 14 1964 during propellant loading training. The Atlas missile had a short operational life due to its poor reaction time and the squadron at Altus was deactivated on 25 March 25 1965.

Location: Oklahoma.
Longitude: -99.2689 deg.
Latitude: 34.7548 deg.

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 Launch Vehicles
  • 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...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites

Altus AFB Chronology


1962 May 5 - . Launch Site: Altus AFB. Launch Platform: NB-52 003. LV Family: X-15. Launch Vehicle: X-15. LV Configuration: X-15 (3-C).
  • Eglin Demonstration mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; USAF. Apogee: 14 km (8 mi).

1962 October 9 - . Launch Site: Altus AFB. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F.
  • Atlas SMS 577 operational. - . Nation: USA. Summary: Altus AFB SMS 577 operational.

1964 May 14 - . Launch Site: Altus AFB. Launch Complex: Altus AFB 577-6. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F. LV Configuration: Atlas F 61F. FAILURE: Exploded during propellant loading..
  • Accident - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 0 km ( mi). Summary: Operational missile test at Altus AFB..

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