NW028 1/144 Atlas SLV-3 Agena B Ranger


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.
The Ranger spacecrafts were designed to fly to the moon, returning data enroute and up to their impact on surface. Ranger 6 was launched on January 30th, 1964, and achieved lunar impact 20 miles of its target.

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