First test model of Atlas ICBM. Two booster engines, no sustainer, dummy warhead. 50% reliability in 8 flight tests.
Launches: 5. Failures: 2. Success Rate: 60.00% pct. First Launch Date: 25 September 1957. Last Launch Date: 03 June 1958. Liftoff Thrust: 136,080 kgf. Total Mass: 81,647 kg. Core Diameter: 3.1 m. Total Length: 28.0 m. Development Cost $: 2,230.00 million. Total Development Built: 18. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 1.80 million. in 1965 unit dollars. Cost comments: Development cost and flyaway cost total for Atlas A through F (ICBM's).
Rand Corp. completed missile feasibility studies begun in 1949, which confirmed the military practicability of long-range rocket weapons.
Air Force established Project MX-1593 (Project Atlas), study phase for an intercontinental missile. Contract was given to Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft on January 23. This was the follow-on to Project MX-774 terminated in 1947. Several test vehicles had been fired using residual funds in 1948 and 1949, after which the Convair MX-774 (Atlas) missile project had been shelved. The company, however, had continued to fund a research program.
USAF directed all work in Project MX-1593 (Atlas) be for development of a rocket-powered ballistic missile.
Work on MA-2 propulsion system for Atlas by Rocketdyne was begun, drawing upon the experience in developing the regeneratively cooled chamber developed for the Navaho.
USAF Chief of Staff, Nathan F. Twining, reported that ICBM's were receiving priority in the AF program because of known Soviet progress. Navaho, Snark, and Atlas programs accelerated.
First test flight of prototype WS-107A Atlas was detonated by command signal at 10,000 feet following a failure in the booster fuel system.
Atlas was again destroyed by command signal at three minutes into flight following a failure in the booster fuel system.
First successful test firing of USAF Atlas ICBM, the missile landing in the target area after a flight of 600 miles.
A successful limited flight was made by the fourth Atlas fired from Cape Canaveral.
USAF Atlas A ICBM was successfully flown from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to the impact area some 600 miles away.