Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas Centaur



atcenac3.jpg
Atlas LV
Atlas LV-3C s/n AC-3 / Centaur D s/n 135D - 1964-06-30
American orbital launch vehicle. First test version of Atlas with Centaur upper stage.

LEO Payload: 3,630 kg (8,000 lb) to a 185 km orbit. Payload: 2,255 kg (4,971 lb) to a GTO. Failures: 2. First Fail Date: 1984-06-09. Last Fail Date: 1987-03-26. Launch Price $: 75.000 million in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 70.300 million in 1994 dollars.

AKA: LV-3C.
Gross mass: 136,124 kg (300,102 lb).
Payload: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb).
Height: 33.00 m (108.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,704.82 kN (383,259 lbf).
First Launch: 1962.05.08.
Last Launch: 1965.03.02.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Surveyor American lunar lander. 13 launches, 1963.11.27 (Atlas Centaur 2) to 1968.01.07 (Surveyor 7). Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Surveyor series soft-landed on the moon, provided images of the lunar surface, and tested the characteristics of the lunar soil. More...

See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Convair American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36A Atlas launch complex. Launch site built in 1960 for NASA's Atlas/Centaur development program, and used for launches of that launch vehicle until its retirement. More...

Associated Stages
  • Atlas D Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 113,050/2,347 kg. Thrust 363.22 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 309 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,050/3,050 kg. Thrust 1,517.42 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 282 seconds. More...
  • Centaur C Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 15,600/1,996 kg. Thrust 133.45 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 425 seconds. The first high-energy liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propellant stage in history. Despite initial development problems, the Centaur is entering its sixth decade of development and production. More...

Atlas Centaur Chronology


1962 May 8 - . 19:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur F-1. FAILURE: Vehicle exploded due to insulation problems on the Atlas.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Apogee: 6.00 km (3.70 mi). Summary: First Centaur flight (unsuccessful)..

1963 November 27 - . 19:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur AC-2 / Centaur D 126D.
  • Atlas Centaur 2 - . Payload: Centaur 2B. Mass: 4,620 kg (10,180 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Cleveland. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. USAF Sat Cat: 694 . COSPAR: 1963-047A. Apogee: 1,478 km (918 mi). Perigee: 469 km (291 mi). Inclination: 30.4000 deg. Period: 104.60 min. Summary: Launch vehicle test. Launch vehicle put dummy payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit. First successful Centaur (liquid hydrogen-fueled) flight..

1964 June 30 - . 14:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur AC-3 / Centaur D 135D. FAILURE: Centaur hydraulics failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Centaur AC-3 - . Payload: Centaur 1C. Mass: 4,815 kg (10,615 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Decay Date: 1964-06-30 . COSPAR: F640630A. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi). Summary: Centaur test. Launch vehicle was to have put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

1964 December 11 - . 14:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur AC-4 / Centaur D 146D.
  • Surveyor SD-1 - . Payload: Surveyor SD-1. Mass: 2,944 kg (6,490 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1964-12-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 951 . COSPAR: 1964-082A. Apogee: 178 km (110 mi). Perigee: 165 km (102 mi). Inclination: 30.7000 deg. Period: 87.80 min. Summary: Launch vehicle test. Centaur AC-4 put dummy Surveyor payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

1965 March 2 - . 13:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur AC-5 / Centaur D 156D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Surveyor SD-1 - . Payload: Surveyor SD-1. Mass: 951 kg (2,096 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1965-03-02 . COSPAR: F650302A. Summary: Launch vehicle test. Launch vehicle was to have put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

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