Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles|
Appendix 3: Space Vehicles
Copyright © 2003 Jos Heyman|
(HTML formatting by Andreas Parsch)
The Centaur upper stage, fuelled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, was initially developed by General Dynamics to place military communications satellites into orbit. When the programme was cancelled, the launcher was handed over for civilian use by NASA. In 1994 the rights to the Centaur upper stage were sold to Martin Marietta, which in 1995 merged with Lockheed to become Lockheed Martin. The Centaur upper stage was first used on 27 November 1963 after a failure on 8 May 1962. The stage was also known by its military designation SSB-8A although this designation was probably restricted to military launches.
The Centaur upper stage was extensively used with the basic Atlas launch vehicle (refer SLV-3) in a range of versions.
|Centaur A||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-1||133,453 N||Atlas Centaur A||1|
|Centaur B||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3||133,453 N||Atlas Centaur B||1|
|Centaur C||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3||133,453 N||Atlas Centaur C||3|
|Centaur D||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3-1 or -3||131,227 N||Atlas Centaur D||24|
|Centaur D1A||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3-3||131,227 N||Atlas Centaur D1A||6|
|Centaur D1AR||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3-3||131,227 N||Atlas Centaur D1AR||33|
|Centaur I||9.10 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3-3A||146,810 N||Atlas I||11|
|Centaur II||10.06 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3-3A||146,810 N||Atlas II||13|
|Centaur IIA||10.06 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-4||185,019 N||Atlas IIA, Atlas IIAS||20*|
|Centaur IIIA||10.06 m||3.05 m||1 P&W RL-10A-4-1||99,158 N||Atlas IIIA||1*|
|Centaur IIIB||11.68 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-4-2||198,317 N||Atlas IIIB||1*|
|Centaur IIIB DEC||11.68 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-4-2||198,317 N||Atlas IIIB||0*|
|Centaur IIIB SEC||11.68 m||3.05 m||1 P&W RL-10A-4-2||99,158 N||Atlas IIIB||1*|
|*as at 31 December 2002|
|Photo: Author's collection|
The Centaur was also used with the basic Titan IIIE and IV launch vehicles, in two versions.
|Centaur D1T||9.60 m||3.05 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3-3||131,227 N||Titan IIIE Centaur||7|
|Centaur T||9.00 m||4.30 m||2 P&W RL-10A-3A||146,810 N||Titan 401A/B||14|
The Centaur D/E was a proposed version to be used with the Titan IIIBAS2 launch vehicle whilst the Centaur upper stage was also proposed for the Titan IIIL. Neither launch vehicle was developed beyond the initial design stages.
|Photo: Author's collection|
The Centaur G was a version proposed for use with the Space Shuttle. It was to have 2 Pratt & Whitney RL-10-3-3A engines and was to be built in a basic version with a length of 6.00 m and a diameter of 4.30 m, and a stretched version with a length of 9.00 m. Development of this version was not proceeded with.
Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 3