Encyclopedia Astronautica
RL-10A-3A



rl10.jpg
RL-10
Credit: Lockheed Martin
Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 73.4 kN. Isp=444s. Used on Centaur stage atop Atlas G, Atlas I, Atlas II, Titan 4. First flight 1984.

Engine: 141 kg (310 lb). Chamber Pressure: 32.31 bar. Area Ratio: 61. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 53.2400806451613. Oxidizer to Fuel Ratio: 5. Coefficient of Thrust vacuum: 1.67432171823688.

Unfuelled mass: 141 kg (310 lb).
Height: 1.78 m (5.83 ft).
Diameter: 1.01 m (3.31 ft).
Thrust: 73.40 kN (16,501 lbf).
Specific impulse: 444 s.
Burn time: 550 s.
Number: 134 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Space Tug American space tug. Study 1971. The original Boeing Space Tug design of the early 1970's was sized to be flown either in a single shuttle mission or as a Saturn V payload. Optimum mass was found to be 20.6 metric tons regardless. More...
  • Centaur I American space tug. 18 launches, (1984) to (1997). Upper stage / space tug - out of production. Launched by Atlas I. More...
  • Centaur II American space tug. 10 launches, (1991) to (1998). Upper stage / space tug - out of production. Launched by Atlas II. More...

See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Titan 4 American orbital launch vehicle. Developed to handle military payloads designed for launch on Shuttle from Vandenberg before the USAF pulled out of the Shuttle program after the Challenger disaster. Further stretch of core from Titan 34, 7-segment solid rocket motors (developed for MOL but not used until 25 years later). Enlarged Centaur G used as upper stage (variant of stage designed for Shuttle but prohibited for flight safety reasons after Challenger). Completely revised electronics. All the changes resulted in major increase in cost of launch vehicle and launch operations. More...
  • Atlas I American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas I launch vehicle was derived from the Atlas G, and included the same basic vehicle components (Atlas booster and Centaur upper stage). Significant improvements in the guidance and control system were made with an emphasis on replacing analog flight control components with digital units interconnected with a digital data bus. More...
  • Atlas II American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas II booster was 2.7-meters longer than an Atlas I and included uprated Rocketdyne MA-5A engines. The Atlas I vernier engines were replaced with a hydrazine roll control system. The Centaur stage was stretched 0.9-meters compared to the Centaur I stage. Fixed foam insulation replaced Atlas I's jettisonable insulation panels. The original Atlas II model was developed to support the United States Air Force Medium Launch Vehicle II program. Its Centaur used RL10A-3-3A engines operating at an increased mixture ratio. The first Atlas II flew on 7 December 1991, successfully delivering AC-102/Eutelsat II F3 to orbit. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

Associated Stages
  • Centaur II Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 18,833/2,053 kg. Thrust 146.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. More...
  • Centaur I Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 15,600/1,700 kg. Thrust 146.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. More...
  • Centaur G Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 23,880/2,775 kg. Thrust 146.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. Centaur for Titan 4 More...
  • Centaur G Prime Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 19,501/3,000 kg. Thrust 146.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. Centaur for Shuttle payload bay. Cancelled after Challenger disaster on safety grounds. More...
  • Centaur G STS Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 16,327/2,600 kg. Thrust 146.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. More...

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