Encyclopedia Astronautica
Centaur V2


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 23,050/2,250 kg. Thrust 198.40 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 451 seconds. Dual-engine Centaur for Atlas V. For heavy payload, low earth orbit missions, Centaur will use two RL10 engines to maximize boost phase mission performance.

No Engines: 2.

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 23,050 kg (50,810 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 2,250 kg (4,960 lb).
Height: 12.68 m (41.60 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 198.40 kN (44,602 lbf).
Specific impulse: 451 s.
Burn time: 435 s.
Number: 1 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • RL-10A-4-2 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 99.1 kN. In production. Isp=451s. Used on Atlas IIIB launch vehicle. First flight 2002. Two engines; electro-mechanical thrust vector control actuators replaced earlier hydraulically actuated system. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
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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