Encyclopedia Astronautica
Centaur B-X


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 19,138/2,358 kg. Thrust 186.80 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 470 seconds. Conceptual design. Not put into production.

Cost $ : 21.000 million. No Engines: 2.

Status: Development 1998.
Gross mass: 19,138 kg (42,192 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 2,358 kg (5,198 lb).
Height: 10.10 m (33.10 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 186.80 kN (41,994 lbf).
Specific impulse: 470 s.
Burn time: 408 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • RL-10B-X Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 93.4 kN. Design concept 1994. Isp=470s. More...

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...

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