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astronautix.com Centaur IIIB


Gross Mass: 22,960 kg. Empty Mass: 2,130 kg. Thrust (vac): 20,223 kgf. Isp: 451 sec. Burn time: 460 sec. Propellants: Lox/LH2 Isp(sl): 0 sec. Diameter: 3.1 m. Span: 3.1 m. Length: 11.7 m. Country: USA. No Engines: 2. RL-10A-4-2 Status: Development.

Dual-engine Centaur for Atlas IIIB. The Lockheed Martin manufactured Centaur IIIB upper stage is powered by two Pratt & Whitney RL10A-4-2 turbopump-fed engines burning liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The changes to Centaur for Atlas IIIB are a stretched tank (1.68 m) and the addition of the second engine. Guidance, tank pressurization, and propellant usage controls for both Atlas and Centaur phases are provided by the inertial navigation unit (INU) located on the forward equipment module. The first Centaur burn lasts about five minutes, after which the Centaur and its payload coast in a parking orbit. During the first burn, approximately eight seconds after ignition, the payload fairing is jettisoned. The second Centaur ignition occurs 27 minutes into the flight, continues for about three minutes, and is followed several minutes later by the separation of the spacecraft from Centaur.


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .