This wasn't an ICBM, but it might have been. The Atlas served peaceable missions, too, throughout the 1960s. For instance, pictured here is the February 1962 liftoff of the Friendship 7 spacecraft carrying Mercury astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
As an ICBM, the SM-65 Atlas D was operational from 1959 to 1965. In that configuration, it stood just over 85 feet tall, with a maximum weight at launch of 260,000 pounds, and packed a single nuclear warhead. (As a Mercury rocket, it stretched to more than 100 feet, including the escape rocket boom on top.) It had a range of more than 6,300 miles and could hit speeds around 16,000 mph.
October 19, 2009 11:00 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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