The Atlas was the first intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) in the US nuclear arsenal. Deployed beginning in August 1959, the Atlas was designed to carry a 1-megaton thermonuclear warhead to targets up to 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) away, using either radio-inertial or all-inertial guidance. The Atlas was also used as a booster to launch US manned Mercury capsules into orbit in the 1960s. In the early 1960s, an installation was built at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas as part of the Atlas Missile Project.
Major Charles William Moore, USAF, was the project manager for the Site Activation Task Force and his unit received an award for completing the construction on time and under budget.