NW026 1/144 Atlas SLV-3 Agena D (Lunar Orbiter / Mariner LV)
In 1955 Convair won the prime contract for Atlas ICBM.The
liquid oxygen and kerosene vehicle was designed to carry a
thermonuclear warhead over 7000 miles. The Atlas was unique in
its “stage and half” design in which two of its main engines
were shed to reduce weight after two minutes of flight, while the
central sustainer continued to burn. In order to minimize
sustainer tank weight (used also for booster engines), Convair
employeed balloon construction. Flights of Atlas began on June
11, 1957, with the launch of Atlas A powered by booster alone. In
November 1958, an Atlas B reached full design range, and the
operational Atlas D was deployed in 1960.
The Atlas-Agena began as a launcher for Air Force satellites. The restartable Agena was first developed as an upper stage and propulsion unit for spy satellites. Agena A was followed by Agenas B and D, which boosted a lot of US lunar and interplanetary probes.
Mariner 4 was launched on November 28th, 1964, and returned the first close-up photos of Mars.
Mariner 5 was launched on June 14th, 1967. The spacecraft approached to within 2429 miles of Venus, and discovered 72 to 87 percent carbon dioxyde atmosphere without oxygen.
Lunar orbiter1 was launched on August 10th, 1966, and became first US satellite of Moon. The spacecraft surveyed 9 primary and 7 potential Apollo landing sites.
Photo of all NW026 kit parts. Detail photos of some parts can be found on special page.