Terms & Definitions

Acronyms Used In The Atlas Missile Program

Following is a list of terms, definitions and acronyms used in and around Atlas missile complexes. A quick review of these terms may help in understanding some of the information presented on other pages in this web site. If you know of a term you think should be included on this page, or have questions about an explanation of one of these terms, please contact  us so it can be added.



BMAT - Ballistic Missile Analyst Technician - An enlisted serviceman in charge of the various electronic systems involved with the missile, such as the logic cabinets, electrical wiring and sensors, etc.


CDS - Combat Defense Squadron - The squadron established for security of the missile sites. Members of this squadron were the "security police" of the missile sites assigned to the squadron.


DMCCC - Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander - An officer and second in command of the launch crews. He was responsible for one of the two keys necessary to launch the missile.


EPPT - Electrical Power Production Technician - An enlisted serviceman in charge of the on-site power production equipment, including the diesel generators.


GD/A - General Dynamics/Astronautics - The developer and manufacturer of the Atlas rocket and the operational ICBM launch sites.


GOX - Gaseous OXygen - This was the result of LOX "boiloff". Liquid oxygen has a boiling point of -297.3 degrees Fahrenheit. In photos, it is the white vapor cloud seen escaping from the top of the missile.


ICBM - Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile


LCB - Launch Control Building - An underground section of an Atlas E missile site where the launch crews were located.


LCC - Launch Control Center - An underground section of an Atlas F missile site where the launch crews were located.


LOX - Liquid OXygen - The oxidizer and one of two fuels used to power the Atlas missile.


MCCC - Missile Combat Crew Commander - An officer and first in command of the launch crews. He was responsible for one of the two keys necessary to launch the missile.


MFT - Missile Facilities Technician - An enlisted serviceman in charge of the various physical systems involved with the missile, such as hydraulics, LOX and RP1 propellants, air conditioning equipment, etc.


MMS - Missile Maintenance Squadron - The squadron established for maintenance of the Atlas missiles. Members of this squadron maintained the Atlas missiles and performed repair and upgrades as needed.


MMT - Missile Maintenance Technician - An enlisted serviceman that performed maintenance on the Atlas missile.


ORT - Operational Readiness Training. An Air Force ICBM Launch Crew performed the actual launch of the missile.


OSTF - Operational Suitability Test Facility - Site Names Used at Vandenberg AFB only. (OSTF-1 and OSTF-2)


PLX - Propellant Load eXercise - A test of the entire launch site to verify that all systems were working properly and that the missile could be launched if necessary. During this procedure the Atlas would be fueled and raised to firing position. Once the testing was complete, the fuel would then be offloaded and the missile lowered back into its standby position. This test was performed without a nuclear warhead or the ability to ignite the engines.


RP1 - A high grade form of kerosene and was one of the two fuels used in the Atlas missile.


RSO - Range Safety Officer - The person responsible for destroying the missile after launch if it became necessary to do so due to problems during flight.


RV - Re-entry Vehicle - The top portion of the missile where the nuclear warhead was located. It is the only part of the ICBM that re-entered the atmosphere after launch and actually reached the target.


SM-65 - The weapons system designation given to the Atlas program by the U. S. Air Force.


SMS - Strategic Missile Squadron


W-38 - The designation of the nuclear warhead used on the Atlas missile. This warhead had a nominal yield of 3.8 megatons of TNT. This is the equivalent of 253  times the yield of the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th, 1945.