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Timberwind Centaur
Part of Timberwind Family
American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Status: Development ended 1992. Payload: 12,272 kg (27,055 lb). Thrust: 3,828.63 kN (860,710 lbf). Gross mass: 223,628 kg (493,015 lb). Height: 29.00 m (95.00 ft). Diameter: 4.25 m (13.94 ft). Apogee: 80 km (49 mi).

LEO Payload: 12,272 kg (27,055 lb) to a 80 km orbit. Payload: 6,363 kg (14,028 lb) to a 19,000 km orbit. Flyaway Unit Cost 1985$: 100.000 million.

Stage Data - Timberwind Centaur

  • Stage 1. 1 x Atlas IIIA. Gross Mass: 195,628 kg (431,285 lb). Empty Mass: 13,725 kg (30,258 lb). Thrust (vac): 4,148.722 kN (932,670 lbf). Isp: 337 sec. Burn time: 132 sec. Isp(sl): 311 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Length: 29.00 m (95.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-180. Status: In production. Atlas booster and sustainer engine arrangement replaced by Glushko engines developed for Zenit. Not capable of single stage to single stage to orbit capability (an Internet spaceflight urban myth). The single-stage Atlas IIIA booster uses a high-performance RD-180 propulsion system produced by a U.S./Russian joint venture (RD AMROSS) comprised of Pratt & Whitney (U.S.) and NPO Energomash (Russia). The RD-180 burns liquid oxygen and RP-1 propellant and develops a lift-off (sea-level) thrust of 2.6 MN. The RD-180 throttles to various levels during atmospheric ascent to effectively manage the air-loads experienced by the vehicle enabling minimum Atlas vehicle and launch site infrastructure changes. Additionally, throttling results in satellite experienced flight environments that are nearly identical to Atlas IIAS.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Timberwind 45. Gross Mass: 28,000 kg (61,000 lb). Empty Mass: 7,500 kg (16,500 lb). Thrust (vac): 441.000 kN (99,140 lbf). Isp: 1,000 sec. Burn time: 449 sec. Isp(sl): 890 sec. Diameter: 4.25 m (13.94 ft). Span: 4.25 m (13.94 ft). Length: 23.87 m (78.31 ft). Propellants: Nuclear/LH2. No Engines: 1. Engine: Timberwind 45. Status: Development 1992.



Family: nuclear-powered, orbital launch vehicle. Country: USA. Engines: RD-180. Stages: Timberwind 45, Atlas IIIA. Agency: DARPA.

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