military, commercial and scientific payloads into space fromSpace Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air ForceStation and Space Launch Complex 3B at Vandenberg AirForce Base. More than 500 Atlas flights have taken place,including more than 100 flights with the Centaur stage addedto create the Atlas/Centaur vehicle.When launched by NASA through 1989, the Atlas/Cen-taur was the standard vehicle for intermediate payloads thatcarried about 8,200 pounds (3700 kilograms) to geosynchro-nous transfer orbit. The Centaur was the first high-energy,liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen launch vehicle stage, and pro-vided the most power for its weight of any proven stage thenin use.The Atlas/Centaur was the launch vehicle for SurveyorI, the first U.S. spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon. Otherspacecraft launched by Atlas/Centaurs include the OrbitingAstronomical Observatories; Applications Technology Satel-lites; the Intelsat IV, IV-A and V series of communicationssatellites; Mariner Mars orbiters; a Mariner spacecraft thatmade a flyby of Venus and three flybys of Mercury; Pioneers,which accomplished flybys of Jupiter and Saturn; and Pio-neers that orbited Venus and sent probes plunging throughits atmosphere to the surface. Most recently, NASA launchedthe NOAA GOES-M weather satellite on an Atlas IIA.Lockheed Martin developed the Atlas III launch systemthat debuted in 2000. This vehicle can carry more than 8,819pounds (4,000 kilograms) to geosynchronous transfer orbit.The Atlas V system, expected to debut in early 2002, will beable to carry up to 18,893 pounds (8,570 kilograms) to geo-synchronous transfer orbit, from Space Launch Complex 41at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
From 1960 to 1989, NASA was the responsible agencyin the launch of 170 scientific, weather and communicationsspacecraft, along with some military satellites, from CapeCanaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base.These spacecraft include NASA’s TIROS, Nimbus, ITOS,LANDSAT and Westar series, and more than 30 scientificExplorers. Numerous international satellites were alsolaunched by NASA.The Delta family of vehicles has been upgraded severaltimes over the years. The Delta, produced by Boeing, cur-rently has solid strap-on motors, liquid-fueled first and sec-ond stages, and a solid-propellant third stage.The Delta III launch vehicle debuted in 1998. Thisupgraded model carries 8,400 pounds (3,810 kilograms) togeosynchronous transfer orbit. The Delta IV system, ex-pected to debut in first quarter 2002, will be able to carry8,818 pounds (4,000 kilograms) to 27,778 pounds (12,600kilograms) up to geosynchronous transfer orbit, dependingon vehicle configuration. Space Launch Complex 37 atCCAFS, formerly a Saturn I launch pad, is being recon-structed to launch the Delta IV.
The Pegasus XL vehicle is the only airborne, commer-cially developed launch vehicle currently used. The Pegasusvehicle is carried to an altitude of 39,000 feet attached be-neath an Orbital Sciences carrier aircraft, a convertedLockheed L-1011 (above), and then released for launch. Pe-gasus has successfully placed 70 satellites in orbit with 29launches. Its three-stage solid motors can deliver up to a970-pound (440-kilogram) payload into low-Earth orbit.Because of its unique launch platform, this vehicle canbe launched from almost any location in the world. Therehave been successful launches from Vandenberg Air ForceBase, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA’s WallopsIsland, Va., flight facility, Kwajelein Atoll in the Republic ofthe Marshall Islands in the Pacific, and the Canary Islandsin the Atlantic. On Oct. 9, 2000, Pegasus launched NASA’sHigh Energy Transient Experiment (HETE-2) into an equa-torial orbit from Kwajalein Atoll.
The Taurus ve-hicle is a four-stagesolid motor vehicle.The Taurus was de-signed to operate froma wide range of launchfacilities and geo-graphic locations. TheTaurus launch vehiclehas successfully sentnine satellites into or-bit with five launches,all from VandenbergAir Force Base. It wasused to launchNASA’s Active CavityRadiometer IrradianceMonitor Satellite(ACRIMSAT) space-craft on Dec. 20, 1999.Taurus was privatelydeveloped by OrbitalSciences to launch up to a 2,200-pound (1,000-kilogram)payload into low-Earth orbit.
The Titan has been used by NASA to launch interplan-etary missions from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. An
Taurus 4Pegasus is attached underneath theLockheed L-1011, ready for release.