The missile Atlas SM-65 or Atlas I, built by Convair (a division of General Dynamics) was in the beginning a missile of intercontinental range (ICBM) to nuclear load.
It was the first of a series of intercontinaux missile and was used as a basis for the launchers, soldiers or civilians, of satellites.
The project started in 1946, at the request of the USAF which sought a machine able to fly between 2.400 and 8.000 km by carrying a nuclear load.
Convair presented its project MS-774, but this one was abandoned in 1947. Nevertheless on request of USAF, Convair was authorized has to continue a development, which becomes national priority when the learned CIA the Russian existence of ICBM.
The Missile initially received the name of XB-65, but was renamed SM-65 in 1955 then CGM-16 after 1962 (after the adoption of a single designation for US Navy, USAF, US Army and USMC).
The first flight take place in 1957, and was the first successful shooting of a ICBM by the United States.
Atlas D CGM-16
Atlas F HGM-16
See also: Atlas (rocket)
From 1962, the missile (Atlas I) was modified as a launcher, and took part in the projects Mariner (1962-1973) and Mercury (10 launchings between 1962 and 1963).
Development under various manufacturers.
- Atlas III
- Atlas V
AnecdoteThe 1st missile was developed during Cold war, whereas last the development (Atlas III and V) use Russian engines Energomash RD-180 built under license by Pratt & Whitney.
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