Cradle of Atlas

(About this image) Cradle of Atlas - Looking down on an Atlas D missile launch cradle.

Looking down from the launcher doors onto the rocket cradle of an Atlas D ICBM. The Atlas missile system was designed and built in parallel to the Titan 1 ICBM’s in the early 1960s. However, their purpose wasn’t always quite so nefarious. Prior to their use as a weapons delivery system, the rockets were involved in the Gemini project that put the first Americans in space. For this reason, these missiles have a special interest to myself.

The massive network of missiles had an equally short lifespan, deployed from 1959 to 1965 when the rockets were decommissioned and stored for use as launch vehicles for satellites.

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One Response to “Cradle of Atlas”

  1. Jim Denton

    Great photos!!
    I hate to ‘burst your bubble but the Atlas was designed as a weapon first and foremost.
    The initial designation was X-11 & X-12, and then it became the B-65, in the USAF Bomber series, then it became the SM-65, signifying Strategic Missile, an finally as the CGM-16 after the 1963 merger of weapon system designations into our current system. The ICBM version of the SM-65D (Atlas Dl went on alert in 1959, but the Mercury use was begun around then and didn’t launch human until 1962.


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