Fifty Years of Atlas

The Day of the Atlas

Fifty years ago this month, the United States stepped briskly into the ICBM era, and it has never stepped out. Three long-range, liquid-fueled Atlas D missiles armed with nuclear warheads went on full combat alert at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on Oct. 31, 1959.

A lot of great footage in this video:

UPDATE: Plus: United Launch Alliance’s 600th Atlas Mission


  1. Heh,

    As a kid, I grew up with all those programs. My father worked for Thiokol, which made almost all of the solid motors used for various applications, including the Space Shuttle segmented boosters. It was a marvelous time, with new wonders happening all the time.

    Thanks, Murdoc, for that film. That was great to see!

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