Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas Centaur D


American orbital launch vehicle. Version with Centaur D upper stage.

LEO Payload: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb). Payload: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb) to a GTO. Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1966-04-08. Last Fail Date: 1966-04-08.

Gross mass: 136,100 kg (300,000 lb).
Payload: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb).
Height: 33.00 m (108.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
First Launch: 1965.08.11.
Last Launch: 1967.07.14.
Number: 7 .

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...

Associated Engines
  • LR105-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 386.4 kN. Atlas E, F. Atlas Sustainer. Gas generator, pump-fed. Separate turbopumps for each booster engine. Isp=316s. First flight 1960. More...
  • LR89-7 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 948 kN. Atlas space launchers. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Shared turbopumps for booster engines. Evolved from MA-2 ICBM system. Isp=294s. First flight 1963. More...
  • RL-10A-3 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 65.6 kN. Study 1968. Isp=444s. First flight 1967. 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...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36B Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas Centaur launch pad, in service from 1964 until the retirement of the launch vehicle. 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 D/E Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 16,258/2,631 kg. Thrust 131.22 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds. More...

Atlas Centaur D Chronology


1965 August 11 - . 14:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-6 / Centaur D 151D.
  • Surveyor; Atlas Centaur 6 - . Payload: Surveyor-SD-2. Mass: 950 kg (2,090 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. USAF Sat Cat: 1503 . COSPAR: 1965-064A. Summary: Centaur AC-6 launched dummy Surveyor payload into a barycentric / translunar orbit..

1966 April 8 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-8 / Centaur D 184D. FAILURE: Centaur propellant leak.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Surveyor Model - . Payload: Surveyor SD-3. Mass: 784 kg (1,728 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1966-05-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 2139 . COSPAR: 1966-030A. Apogee: 336 km (208 mi). Perigee: 182 km (113 mi). Inclination: 30.7000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. Summary: Launch vehicle test. Payload was dummy Surveyor spacecraft..

1966 May 30 - . 14:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-10 / Centaur D 290D.
  • Surveyor 1 - . Payload: Surveyor SC-1. Mass: 269 kg (593 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1966-06-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 2185 . COSPAR: 1966-045A. Surveyor 1 soft landed on the moon in the Ocean of Storms and began transmitting the first of more than 11,150 clear, detailed television pictures to Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Deep Space Facility, Goldstone, Calif. The landing sequence began 3,200 kilometers above the moon with the spacecraft traveling at a speed of 9,700 kilometers per hour. The spacecraft was successfully slowed to 5.6 kilometers per hour by the time it reached 4-meter altitude and then free-fell to the surface at 13 kilometers per hour. The landing was so precise that the three footpads touched the surface within 19 milliseconds of each other, and it confirmed that the lunar surface could support the LM. It was the first U.S. attempt to soft land on the moon.

1966 September 20 - . 12:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-7 / Centaur D 194D.
  • Surveyor 2 - . Payload: Surveyor SC-2. Mass: 292 kg (643 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1966-09-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 2425 . COSPAR: 1966-084A. Soft lunar landing attempt failed. Surveyor II was launched from Cape Kennedy at 8:32 a.m. EDT. The Atlas-Centaur launch vehicle placed the spacecraft on a nearly perfect lunar intercept trajectory that would have missed the aim point by about 130 kilometers. Following injection, the spacecraft successfully accomplished all required sequences up to the midcourse thrust phase. This phase was not successful because of the failure of one of the three vernier engines to ignite, causing eventual loss of the mission. Contact with the spacecraft was lost at 5:35 a.m. EDT, September 22, and impact on the lunar surface was predicted at 11:18 p.m. on that day.

1966 October 26 - . 11:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-9 / Centaur D 174D.
  • Surveyor SD-4 - . Payload: Surveyor SD-4. Mass: 951 kg (2,096 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1966-11-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 2512 . COSPAR: 1966-095A. Apogee: 406,200 km (252,400 mi). Perigee: 166 km (103 mi). Inclination: 29.6000 deg. Period: 15,912.00 min. Summary: Launch vehicle test. Centaur D AC-9 put Surveyor spacecraft payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

1967 April 17 - . 07:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-12 / Centaur D 292D.
  • Surveyor 3 - . Payload: Surveyor SC-3. Mass: 283 kg (623 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1967-04-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 2756 . COSPAR: 1967-035A. Summary: Soft landed on Moon; perrformed soil sample tests and imaged lunar surface..

1967 July 14 - . 11:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur D. LV Configuration: Atlas Centaur D AC-11 / Centaur D 291D.
  • Surveyor 4 - . Payload: Surveyor SC-4. Mass: 283 kg (623 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Surveyor. Decay Date: 1967-07-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 2875 . COSPAR: 1967-068A. Summary: Soft lunar landing attempt failed..

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