Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: wdtvlive42 YouTube channel.
This week's Retro Saturday is a 12-minute film from the U.S. Air Force “in contract with Convair, a division of General Dynamics Corporation” titled Project Atlas Progress Report for the first quarter of 1955.
Atlas was the first U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile. Its history can be traced to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the Air Force commissioned the RAND Corporation to research the feasibility of a long-range missile capable of delivering an atomic warhead.
In May 1954, the Air Force gave Atlas its highest priority. The first successful Atlas launch was on December 17, 1957, from Launch Complex 12 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. That was just eleven days after the Vanguard TV-3 failure at Launch Complex 18 created the belief that the United States was falling behind the Soviet Union, which had successfully launched its first two Sputnik missions in October and November 1957.
The name Atlas survives to this day, given to the Lockheed Martin Atlas V that launches from Pad 41 at CCAFS.