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U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle TechnologyViking to Space Shuttle$
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J.D Hunley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813031781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813031781.001.0001

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The Atlas Space-Launch Vehicle and Its Upper Stages, 1958–1990

The Atlas Space-Launch Vehicle and Its Upper Stages, 1958–1990

(p.83) 3 The Atlas Space-Launch Vehicle and Its Upper Stages, 1958–1990
U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle Technology

J. D. Hunley

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses the development of the Atlas space-launch vehicles. Conceived as a missile, Atlas turned out to be a versatile launch vehicle, mated with a great variety of upper stages ranging from Able and Agena through Centaur to a succession of solid-propellant designs. Featuring a controversial but “brilliant, innovative, and yet simple” concept, the steel-balloon tank design, both Atlas and Centaur were adaptable and effective. With commercialization, the pair continued to provide launch services beyond the period of this book and into the 21st century.

Keywords:   Atlas, space launch vehicle technology, rocket technology, missiles, Abe, Agena, Centaur

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