Aphrodite LV-1C / Project BROOM
American orbital launch vehicle. A Convair Atlas B modified for use in NACA's Project BROOM.
Like its ICBM counterpart, the Aphrodite was a five-engined, stage-and-a-half Lox/RP-1 vehicle. Modifications from the Atlas B version included strengthening of the vehicle to hold the weight of the BROOM capsule, additional sensors to track status, and a different front fairing and payload release system to mate it to the capsule.
Twelve were built, numbered AT-01 through AT-05 and ALV-01 to ALV-07. The AT series were test vehicles, planned to launch from November, 1949 to March 1950 from Edwards AFB to prove the design, with data from those flights going into the construction of the ALV series. AT-01 launched on November 19th
, 1949. Early engine cut-off placed the vehicle in a lower than planned orbit. It reentered and burned up on April 7th
of the next year. AT-02 and 03 both had perfect flights, with AT-03 carrying a boilerplate weighted model of the capsule into orbit. AT-04, however, exploded at an altitude of 43 miles when an engine seam split. The launch of AT-05 was postponed while this was researched, and then canceled when it was decided to go straight to the ALV series which had the needed modifications rather than modify the remaining AT vehicle. The only surviving LV-1C booster, it is on display at the California Museum of Science and Industry.
The ALV series were launched from October of 1950 to January of 1952 each carrying a MBV-1 capsule (See Manned Ballistic Vehicle 1 / Project BROOM
) with no failures of the booster. Following the last LV-1C flight in 1952, the booster was replaced by the modified LV-2A version and its followups for future manned and unmanned space launches.
: LV-1C / Atlas, Manned.
: Out of production.
: 270,513 kg (595,129 lb).
: 3,825 kg (8,415 lb).
: 2,420 kg (5,324 lb) to a 185 km orbit at 28.00 degrees.
: 28.00 m (91.86 ft).
: 4.40 m (14.44 ft).
: 3,740.39 kN (840,872 lbf).
: 309 s.
Specific impulse sea level
: 215 s.
: 303 s.
: 185 km (114 mi).
- MBV-1 First American manned spacecraft. Seven flights from 1950.10.31 to 1952.01.15: Two unmanned orbitals, one chimpanzee and one manned suborbitals, and one chimpanzee and two manned orbitals.
- Atlas B Military version of the booster, most differences due to carrying a nuclear warhead rather than a manned capsule. Operational from 1948.02.05 to 1955.05.06 when it was replaced by the Atlas III. Most of the decommissioned missiles were refurbished and used as cargo carriers (Atlas B2C) for Project Stairstep in 1958.
- Aphrodite LV-2A Follow up version of the booster with lighter electronics and more versatile payload capabilities, capable of lofting not just a manned capsule, but unmanned satellites as well. Sixty-four flights from 1952.11.10 to 1961.03.17.