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- Type: VAB
- Class: ship
- Part Count: 20
- Mods: 2
Four missions in Project Mercury were orbital bringing the Americans closer to par with the Soviet successes. A number of proposals were made for an orbital lifter including extensions to the Redstone and the Jupiter missile but NASA settled on a man rated version of the Atlas ICBM which continued the Atlas’ long successful career as a dependable lifter. This is my build of the original Atlas LV-3B from entirely FASA parts.
The Atlas itself is fairly unique as a lifter as it is a stage-and-a-half lifter with the traditional booster stage part of the main stage which is ejected in the upper atmosphere. The rocket’s main stage and boosters are fired at launch with a pair of verniers helping to handle pitch and rotation although losing complete control over the rocket is easy if you’re not careful. I recommend an angle-of-attack not exceeding 5 degrees especially if you are having difficulty with the ascent.
The booster half-stage can be ejected at any point after the upper mid-atmosphere although the fairing can be problematic when ejecting and even destroying the main engine in extreme circumstances. The launch tower should be ejected somewhere above 45km although it doesn’t have a significant impact on your circularization if it’s left on; however it potentially adds more debris in low orbit.
I have kept the build simple so there aren’t any retro motors to push the rocket away from the capsule upon reaching orbit but there should be enough force in the decoupler to gently push it away but it will still leave it in orbit.
The spacecraft itself is very simple and not meant for long-term missions with the capsule having no recharge capabilities. Once you decide to end your mission there’s a small retro engine pack which should be more than enough to put you in position for re-entry. The capsule is equipped with both a makeshift drogue chute and main chute which shouldn’t be deployed until you’re in the lower atmosphere. The drogue chute should be cut before the main chute although there’s no harm in having both deployed at the same time.
Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.4.3.
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