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Atlas Centaur AC-1 Press Kit

Atlas Centaur AC-1 Press Kit

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Published by Bob Andrepont
NASA press kit for first Atlas Centaur rocket test flight
NASA press kit for first Atlas Centaur rocket test flight

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Nov 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/01/2011

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-NE
WS
RELEASE
NATIONAL
AERONAUTICS
AND
SPACE
ADMINISTRATION
400
MARYLAND
AVENUE,
SW,
WASHINGTON
25,D.C.
TELEPHONES
WORTH
2-4155--WORTH
3-
1110
FOR
RELEASE:
A.M':;,
Tue-day
April
3,
3962
RELEASE-
NO.
'a-s6
FIRST
L'AUNCIIH
OFCENTAUR
'-JEHICLE
SCHEDULET)
The
first
Centaur
launch
vehicle
will
be
test
flown
in
the
next
several
days
by
the National. Aeronaut:ics
and Space
Administration.
Therocket
wi:.ll
be
launchedover
a
medium
range
ballistic
trajectoryfrom
CapeCanaveral,
Florida,
ina
preliminary
to.-t
to
provide
a
broad
range
of
informationneeded
for
the
further development
and orbital
testing
of
the system.
This will
bethe
first
U. S.
attempt
to
launch
a
vehicle
thatuses
high-energy
liquid
hydrogen
fuel. The
upper
stage
of Centaur
is
powered by
two
RL-10
liquid
hydrogen/liquid
oxygen
engines,
eachdeveloping15,000
pounds
of
thrust.
Hydrogen
offers
more
pounds
of
thrust
per pound
of
pro-
pellant consumedper
second
than
any
other
fuel
possible
in
chemical
rockets.
It
providesapproximately
4oo
per
cent
more
thrust
per
pound
of
propellant
flowr
per
second
than
hydro-
carbons
such
a.s
kerosene
which
are
used
in
some
of'
the
conventionalrocket
engines.
Centaur
makes
it
possible
for
the
U. S.
to
launch
spacecraft
of
much
greater
size
and
weight
thenever
before.
The
Centaur
is
being
developed
by
General
Dynamics/
Astronautics
under
thetechnical.
direction
of
the
NASA
Marshall
Space
Flight
Center.Centaur
stagerocket
engines
are
produced
by
Pratt
and
Whitney
Aircraft
Division
ofUnited
Aircraft
Corporation
and
Rocketdyne
Division
ofNorth
American
Aviation
produces
the
rockets
for
the
Atlas
booster.
Launching
will
be
under
the
direction
of
NASA'As
Launch
OperationsCenter.In
this
first
test,
the
Centaur
will
be
launched
over
a
trajectory
ofabout
1,175
miles
in
range
and
300
miles
in
C)
altitude.
The
flight
will
take
about
15
minutes.
.-
1
(over)
 
ItI;
-I,
C
;t,(i
t.hrnd.
20
-r
clnt
rfX
11h1('
funct
on.-a
t I
tllmt
1I
Y
('<,pect,'
d
'W
bill
C-LntOnur
vQI1;cle
:.1
me
att'mnfl.,
I
n
thi
<
exi
rirnt,
.
Thie
rockolt,
.:i.11.
not
carry',
a
paNloal.
The
veli-lcie
':1ill
be
Ilavi
ly
and
unil.qi
ily
instrumented
to
provide
mrc:i
mom
I.nformat
i
on
on
the
perfomrance
of
both
stages
and
the
behavior
of
1i
arl
d
hydrogen
in
a
gravity-
.free
statc.
This:;
i.s
in
proparation
for
J.atcr
research
and
devel.oprmentCl.irghts,
.in
ih-ich
ear;th
orbits
or
flights
into
deep;space
wi1.1
be
the
goal.
About
5410
channels
of'
information
will
be
radioed
from
X
the
rocket
during
flight,
a
record
in
U.S.
rocketry.
Four
hundred
of
them
wrill
be
on
the
operation
of
the
Centaur
second
stage
alone.
The
first
known
attempt
Twill
be
made
to
receive
and
recordte)evizsion
imaglee;
of
an
internal
veh:I.cle
function--a
mrnall
camera
wrill
be
mounted
on
theforwarl
bulkhead
of
the
second
stage
hydrogen
tank
to
observe
hydrogen'sreaction
to
zerogravity.
The
hydrogen
tankwill
be
filled
to
about
40
per
centcapacity,
which
will
bethe
approximate
loadlevel
present
at
the
beginning
of
the
second
burningperiod
in
later
-flights.
Althoughsecond-stageengine
operatio.n
is
not
a
primaryobjective
of
this
test,
the
engines
are
programmed
to
igniteand
burn
for
a
short
periodduring
the
vehicle's
descent
intothe
atmosphere.
FLIGHTOBJECTIVES
Major
test
objectives
are
as
follows:
1.
Prove
the
design
and
function
of
the
Centaur
Launch
Complex
36
at
CapeCanaveral,
a
multimilliondollarfacilitywhich
is
beingusedfor
the
first
time.
2.
Demonstrate
the
structuralstrength
of
the
vehicle
to
withstand
the
loads
createdduring
firststage
powered
flight
through
theatmosphere.
Measurements
rill
be
radioed
to
ground
stations.
3.,
Study
the
behavior
of
liquid
hydrogenunder
zero
gravity
conditions.
Of
special
interest
will
bethe
behavior
of
thefluid
daringsteeringnaneuvers
and
coasting,as
well
as
propellantsettlingprior
to
ignition
of
theengines.
4.
Function
of
mechanismswhich
separate
thetwostages.
Firststage
retrorockets
andsecondstage
ullage
engineswillseparatethe
two units.
P
1-2
 
5.
The
fourinsulationpanelsprovidingthermalprotec-
tion
to
the
secondstagehydrogentankduringascentthrough
the
atmosphere
are
to
be
jettisoned
on
commandfrom
thefirststage
autopilot
during
the
powered
flight
of
theAtlas.
The
sequence
is
beingstudied
to
verify
the
operation
of
the
explosiveboltsandseparation
springs.
6.A
principalobjective
is
to
prove
the
ability
of
the
second
stage
autopilot
to
issue
proper
commandsduring
re-
orientation,
main-powered
andcoastphases.
During
coastperiod,the
second
stage
is
oriented
so
thatsun
rays
strikethe
rearinsulatedbulkhead
to
lessen
hydrogen
boil-offduring
the
extended
coasts.
Prior
to
engine
ignition,the
vehiclemustreassume
proper
flight
attitude.The
autopilotprovidessequencing
commands,
executesguidance
commands,
and
maintains
vehiclestabilization.
7.
Other
flight
objectivesinclude
demonstration
in
flight
of
Centaur'sall-inertialguidance
system;
the
measurement
of
thermalenvironment
and
acceleration
forces
inthe
payload
area;
determining
satisfactoryperformance
of
the
telemetry
system;
evaluatingbeacontrackingperform-
anceandthe
study
of
skin
temperatures
on
both
stages.
8.
Thetwo
RL-lOengineswill
beput
throughtheir
startcycle"
during
thecoast
phaseafter
staging.Thecycle
will
be
completedexcept
thatthe
engineswill
not
be
ignited
atthat
point.
Afterotherobjectives
have
beenmet
andthe
vehicle
has
beenreoriented
to
a
reentry
position,the
engine's
startcycle
will
be
repeatedinitiating
a
short
burning
period.
FLIGHT
SEQUENCE
Thefirststage
portion
of
the
Centaurflight
is
verysimilar
to
that
of
a
normal
Atlasrocket.
The
booster's
three
main
enginesand
twovernierswill
be
ignited
onthe
pad
and
the
rocket
will
be
releasedfollowing
a
brief'
hold-
down
in
which
the
proper
burningcondition
is
reached
by
the
booster
powerplant.After
about
15
seconds
offlight,
the
tilting
of
the
vehiclewill
begin.
The
booster
powerplantoperatesfor
more
than
two
minutes,
then
thetwo
main
enginesaredropped.The
sustainer
engine
continues
to
providethrust
andthefirststage
power
ends
after
about
42
minutes.About
midway
inthis
period,the
fourinsulatingpanelssurrounding
the
upper
stage
hydrogen
tank
will
bejettisoned.The
insulation
servesto
keep
liquid
hydrogenboiloff
at
an
acceptable
level
while
onthe
pad
and
during
the
peak
aerodynamicheating
of
ascent.Thenosecone
fairing,
which
wouldprotect
a
payloadfrom
aero-
dynamic
heating,
is
jettisonedabout
a
minutebeforeseperation
of
stages.1-3(OVER)

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