|Function||Expendable launch system|
|Manufacturer|| Martin Marietta |
Convair Aerospace Division of General Dynamics
(prime contractor for the third stage Centaur D-1T)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Height||48.8 meters (160 ft) : 142|
|Diameter||3.05 meters (10.0 ft) : 142|
|Mass||632,970 kilograms (1,395,460 lb)|
|Stages||3 with an option for 4|
|Payload to Low Earth orbit|
|Mass||15,400 kilograms (34,000 lb)|
|Payload to Heliocentric orbit (TMI)|
|Mass||3,700 kilograms (8,200 lb)|
|Launch sites|| Launch Complex 41 |
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
|First flight||February 11,1974|
|Last flight||September 5,1977|
|People or cargo transported|| Voyager (1 / 2)|
Viking (1 / 2)
Helios (A / B)
|Zero stage –Solid Rocket Boosters|
|Powered by|| UA1205 |
Chemical Systems Division of United Technologies : 142
|Maximum thrust||5,339 kilonewtons (1,200,000 lbf)|
(each booster) : 2–1
|Specific impulse||266 sec : 2–1|
|Burn time||117 seconds : 1–2|
|First stage –Core First Stage|
|Powered by|| LR87-11 (two)|
Aerojet : 142
|Maximum thrust||2,313 kilonewtons (520,000 lbf) : 2–1 |
2,091 kilonewtons (470,000 lbf) : 142
|Specific impulse||301.1 sec : 2–1|
|Burn time||146 seconds : 1–2|
|Propellant||N2O4 / Aerozine 50 : 2–1|
|Second stage –Core Second Stage|
|Powered by|| LR91-11 (one))|
Aerojet : 142
|Maximum thrust||449 kilonewtons (101,000 lbf) : 2–1 |
444.8 kilonewtons (100,000 lbf) : 142
|Specific impulse||318.7 sec : 2–1|
|Burn time||210 seconds : 1–3|
|Propellant||N2O4 / Aerozine 50 : 2–1|
|Third stage –Centaur D-1T|
|Powered by|| RL10A-3 (two)|
Pratt &Whitney Aircraft Division of the United Aircraft Corporation : 1–6
|Maximum thrust||66.7 kilonewtons (15,000 lbf) (each engine) : 142|
|Specific impulse||444 sec|
|Burn time||470 seconds|
|Propellant||LH2 / LOX : 1–4|
|Fourth stage –Star 37E|
|Powered by||1 solid|
|Maximum thrust||68 kilonewtons (15,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||283.6 sec|
|Burn time||42 seconds|
The Titan IIIE or Titan 3E,also known as the Titan III-Centaur,was an American expendable launch system. Launched seven times between 1974 and 1977,it enabled several high-profile NASA missions,including the Voyager and Viking planetary probes and the joint West Germany-U.S. Helios spacecraft. All seven launches were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral,Florida.
In the early 1960s,NASA's long-range plan was to continue using Atlas-Centaur until a reusable launch system or a nuclear-powered upper stage could be developed. To help fund the escalating Vietnam War and the new War on Poverty,Congress drastically reduced the funding of the civilian space program. In addition,further development of the reusable launch vehicle was postponed. NASA needed a launch vehicle more powerful than Atlas-Centaur to send heavier planetary probes like Viking and Voyager into space in the 1970s. So,NASA began in 1967 to consider the possibility of mating a Centaur upper stage with the Titan III. : 140 On June 26,NASA contracted with Martin Marietta to study its feasibility. By March 1969,this combination looked promising. NASA assigned management of the vehicle to the NASA Lewis Research Center (now known as the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field) with follow-on contracts with Martin Marietta to develop what became the Titan IIIE and General Dynamics to adapt the Centaur D-1.
Several modifications to the Centaur were necessary to accommodate the more powerful booster. The most obvious change was enclosing Centaur in a large shroud to protect the stage and payload during ascent. The shroud made it possible to improve Centaur's insulation and thereby increase its coast time in orbit from thirty minutes when launched on an Atlas-Centaur to over five hours on the Titan IIIE. Because Centaur was wider than the Titan's core stage,a tapering interface was required. This interface needed insulation to prevent Titan's ambient-temperature hypergolic propellants from causing the boil-off of Centaur's cryogenic fuels. The Centaur stage also contained the guidance system for the entire launch vehicle.
A four-stage configuration was available,with a Star-37E being the additional upper stage. This was used for the two Helios launches.Star-37E stages were also used on the two Voyager launches,but the stages were considered part of the payload instead of part of the rocket.
The first launch of the Titan IIIE on February 11,1974,was a failure. As a "Proof Flight",it was planned to have the same trajectory as the Viking mission to Mars that was scheduled for launch in 1975. The original plan was for this flight to carry the Viking Dynamic Simulator (VDS),a model of the Viking spacecraft. Engineers at the Lewis Research Center,however,ultimately persuaded their colleagues to put the Sphinx satellite on the flight in addition to the VDS. The mission of the satellite was to measure the interaction of space plasmas with the satellite's high-voltage surfaces. The Titan phase of the flight was largely uneventful and second stage cutoff and Centaur separation were affected at T+469 seconds. However,the Centaur failed to start. A backup command from the missile programmer at T+525 seconds failed to initiate main engine start. : 145 With the Centaur in free-fall,the Range Safety station in Antigua sent the destruct command at T+748 seconds. : 145
Examination of telemetry data revealed that the Centaur's LOX boost pump did not activate,preventing proper mainstage engine operation from being achieved. The guidance system issued a shutdown command after the first engine start attempt due to insufficient acceleration. After the second attempt,it entered coasting mode as it would have had orbital injection been achieved. Initial suspicions that the Centaur had been damaged by colliding with the second stage were disproven by accelerometer data and instead it was suspected that loose debris or ice had caused the boost pump to seize up. To reduce the chance of a second failure,prelaunch procedures were implemented to verify that Centaur's pumps were free and unobstructed. Nearly four years passed before the cause of the failure was determined:an improperly installed mounting bracket inside the liquid oxygen (LOX) tank. This bracket held a LOX regulator in place. The technician responsible for installing it had found that the normal tool used to screw bolts into place was too short to reach the bracket. He thus used a slightly longer socket wrench that gave him more reach. Before the technician retired,he failed to inform his successor about this. When the new technician attempted to attach the bolt with the wrench specified in the assembly instructions,the wrench was too short and prevented him from screwing it into place properly. The bolt came loose,fell off,and got sucked into one of the LOX boost pumps,which jammed the pump and prevented its operation. Despite the failure,at least one important goal was achieved. The Centaur's bulging shroud was proven to be aerodynamically stable during flight and had jettisoned properly and on schedule. One other minor problem was evident:At T+179 seconds,Titan thrust assembly #2 experienced a 2% thrust decay. This was accompanied by a small drop in turbopump speed and gas generator performance. Consequently,the Titan core stage cut off two seconds later than nominal. The anomaly was traced to a cover on an unused instrumentation port on the turbine inlet coming loose during launch,allowing hot gas from the gas generator to leak out of it. : 145–6
The next flight of the Titan IIIE was on December 10,1974,carrying the Helios-A spacecraft. This mission was successful,as were all subsequent launches.
Voyager 1 's launch almost failed because Titan's second stage shut down too early,leaving 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of propellant unburned. : 160 To compensate,the Centaur's on-board computers ordered a burn that was far longer than planned. At cutoff,the Centaur was only 3.4 seconds from propellant exhaustion. If the same failure had occurred during Voyager 2's launch a few weeks earlier,the Centaur would have run out of propellant before the probe reached the correct trajectory. Jupiter was in a more favorable position vis-à-vis Earth during the launch of Voyager 1 than during the launch of Voyager 2. : 160
|23E-1||TC-1||Sphinx||Failure||Centaur liquid oxygen turbopump malfunction. RSO destruct at T+742 seconds.|
|23E-2||TC-2||Helios-A||Success||First space probe to orbit closer to the Sun than Mercury.|
|23E-4||TC-4||Viking 1||Success||Carried the Viking 1 orbiter and lander to Mars.|
|23E-3||TC-3||Viking 2||Success||Carried the Viking 2 orbiter and lander to Mars.|
|23E-5||TC-5||Helios-B||Success||Once held the record for a space probe's fastest velocity relative to the Sun. Now held by Parker Solar Probe.|
|23E-7||TC-7||Voyager 2||Success||Additionally boosted by a Star 37E upper stage.|
Flew by Jupiter,Saturn,Uranus,and Neptune,thereby completing the Grand Tour program. It left the Solar System in November 2018.
|23E-6||TC-6||Voyager 1||Success||Titan malfunction caused premature second-stage engine cutoff,but successfully compensated by extended Centaur burn.|
Additionally boosted by a Star 37E upper stage.
Flew by Jupiter and Saturn. Exited the Solar System's heliosphere in 2012. The most distant human-made object from Earth.
The Mariner program was conducted by the American space agency NASA to explore other planets. Between 1962 and late 1973,NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) designed and built 10 robotic interplanetary probes named Mariner to explore the inner Solar System - visiting the planets Venus,Mars and Mercury for the first time,and returning to Venus and Mars for additional close observations.
Titan was a family of United States expendable rockets used between 1959 and 2005. The Titan I and Titan II were part of the US Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fleet until 1987. The space launch vehicle versions contributed the majority of the 368 Titan launches,including all the Project Gemini crewed flights of the mid-1960s. Titan vehicles were also used to lift US military payloads as well as civilian agency reconnaissance satellites and to send interplanetary scientific probes throughout the Solar System.
The Centaur is a family of rocket propelled upper stages produced by U.S. launch service provider United Launch Alliance,with one main active version and one version under development. The 3.05 m (10.0 ft) diameter Common Centaur/Centaur III flies as the upper stage of the Atlas V launch vehicle,and the 5.4 m (18 ft) diameter Centaur V is being developed as the upper stage of ULA's new Vulcan rocket. Centaur was the first rocket stage to use liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX) propellants,a high-energy combination that is ideal for upper stages but has significant handling difficulties.
The Agena Target Vehicle,also known as Gemini-Agena Target Vehicle (GATV) was an uncrewed spacecraft used by NASA during its Gemini program to develop and practice orbital space rendezvous and docking techniques,and to perform large orbital changes,in preparation for the Apollo program lunar missions. The spacecraft was based on Lockheed Aircraft's Agena-D upper stage rocket,fitted with a docking target manufactured by McDonnell Aircraft. The name 'Agena' derived from the star Beta Centauri,also known as Agena. The combined spacecraft was a 26-foot (7.92 m)-long cylinder with a diameter of 5 feet (1.52 m),placed into low Earth orbit with the Atlas-Agena launch vehicle. It carried approximately 14,021 to 14,054 pounds of propellant and gas at launch,and had a gross mass at orbital insertion of 7,117 to 7,271 pounds.
Titan IV was a family of heavy-lift space launch vehicles developed by Martin Marietta and operated by the United States Air Force from 1989 to 2005. Launches were conducted from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base,California.
The Titan IIIC was an expendable launch system used by the United States Air Force from 1965 until 1982. It was the first Titan booster to feature large solid rocket motors and was planned to be used as a launcher for the Dyna-Soar,though the spaceplane was cancelled before it could fly. The majority of the launcher's payloads were DoD satellites,for military communications and early warning,though one flight (ATS-6) was performed by NASA. The Titan IIIC was launched exclusively from Cape Canaveral while its sibling,the Titan IIID,was launched only from Vandenberg AFB.
The Thor-Able was an American expendable launch system and sounding rocket used for a series of re-entry vehicle tests and satellite launches between 1958 and 1960. It was a two-stage rocket,consisting of a Thor IRBM as a first stage and a Vanguard-derived Able second stage. On some flights,an Altair solid rocket motor was added as a third stage. It was a member of the Thor family and an early predecessor of the Delta.
The Atlas-Centaur was a United States expendable launch vehicle derived from the SM-65 Atlas D missile. Launches were conducted from Launch Complex 36 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.
Sphinx is the designation of an American test satellite. The Sphinx satellite was the payload for the first Titan IIIE Centaur rocket. The Helios,Viking and Voyager space probes were later launched using this rocket.
Mars 2M No.522,also known as Mars M-69 No.522 and sometimes identified by NASA as Mars 1969B,was a Soviet spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure in 1969. It consisted of an orbiter. The spacecraft was intended to image the surface of Mars using three cameras,with images being encoded for transmission back to Earth as television signals. It also carried a radiometer,a series of spectrometers,and an instrument to detect water vapour in the atmosphere of Mars. It was one of two Mars 2M spacecraft,along with Mars 2M No.521,which was launched in 1969 as part of the Mars program. Neither launch was successful.
The Atlas III was an American orbital launch vehicle,used in the years between 2000 and 2005. It was developed from the highly successful Atlas II rocket and shared many components. It was the first member of the Atlas family since the Atlas A to feature a "normal" staging method,compared to the previous Atlas family members,which were equipped with two jettisonable outboard engines on the first (booster) stage. The Atlas III was developed further to create the Atlas V,which still flies to this day.
The Inertial Upper Stage (IUS),originally designated the Interim Upper Stage,was a two-stage,solid-fueled space launch system developed by Boeing for the United States Air Force beginning in 1976 for raising payloads from low Earth orbit to higher orbits or interplanetary trajectories following launch aboard a Titan 34D or Titan IV rocket as its upper stage,or from the payload bay of the Space Shuttle as a space tug.
The Atlas-Agena was an American expendable launch system derived from the SM-65 Atlas missile. It was a member of the Atlas family of rockets,and was launched 109 times between 1960 and 1978. It was used to launch the first five Mariner uncrewed probes to the planets Venus and Mars,and the Ranger and Lunar Orbiter uncrewed probes to the Moon. The upper stage was also used as an uncrewed orbital target vehicle for the Gemini crewed spacecraft to practice rendezvous and docking. However,the launch vehicle family was originally developed for the Air Force and most of its launches were classified DoD payloads.
This comparison of orbital launch systems lists the attributes of all individual rocket configurations designed to reach orbit. A first list contains rockets that are currently operational or in development;a second list includes all retired rockets. For the simple list of all conventional launcher families,see:Comparison of orbital launchers families. For the list of predominantly solid-fueled orbital launch systems,see:Comparison of solid-fueled orbital launch systems.
The SM-68 Titan was the designation of two intercontinental ballistic missiles developed for the United States Air Force. The Titan I and Titan II missiles were operational between 1962 and 1987 during the Cold War. These missiles,particularly the Titan II,were the basis of the Titan family of space launch vehicles.
The Atlas G,also known as Atlas G Centaur-D1AR was an American expendable launch system derived from the Atlas-Centaur. It was a member of the Atlas family of rockets,and was used to launch seven communication satellites during the mid to late 1980s. Atlas G consisted of an improved Atlas core with modernized avionics and stretched propellant tanks. The Centaur stage also had several updated components and other technical improvements. It was replaced by the Atlas I,which had an improved guidance system.
The Titan II GLV or Gemini-Titan II was an American expendable launch system derived from the Titan II missile,which was used to launch twelve Gemini missions for NASA between 1964 and 1966. Two uncrewed launches followed by ten crewed ones were conducted from Launch Complex 19 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,starting with Gemini 1 on April 8,1964.
The Atlas LV-3B,Atlas D Mercury Launch Vehicle or Mercury-Atlas Launch Vehicle,was a human-rated expendable launch system used as part of the United States Project Mercury to send astronauts into low Earth orbit. Manufactured by Convair,it was derived from the SM-65D Atlas missile,and was a member of the Atlas family of rockets. With the Atlas having been originally designed as a weapon system,testing and design changes were made to the missile to make it a safe and reliable launch vehicle. After the changes were made and approved to,the US launched the LV-3B nine times,four of which had crewed Mercury spacecraft.
Shuttle-Centaur was a version of the Centaur upper stage rocket designed to be carried aloft inside the Space Shuttle and used to launch satellites into high Earth orbits or probes into deep space. Two variants were developed:Centaur G-Prime,which was planned to launch the Galileo and Ulysses robotic probes to Jupiter,and Centaur G,a shortened version planned for use with United States Department of Defense Milstar satellites and the Magellan Venus probe. The powerful Centaur upper stage allowed for heavier deep space probes,and for them to reach Jupiter sooner,prolonging the operational life of the spacecraft. However,neither variant ever flew on a Shuttle. Support for the project came from the United States Air Force (USAF) and the National Reconnaissance Office,which asserted that its classified satellites required the power of Centaur. The USAF agreed to pay half the design and development costs of Centaur G,and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) paid the other half.
Andrew John Stofan is an American engineer. He worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Lewis Research Center. In the 1960s he played an important role in the development of the Centaur upper stage rocket,which pioneered the use of liquid hydrogen as a propellant. In the 1970s he managed the Atlas-Centaur and Titan-Centaur Project Offices,and oversaw the launch of the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 probes to Jupiter and Saturn,the Viking missions to Mars,Helios probes to the Sun,and the Voyager probes to Jupiter and the outer planets. He was director of the Lewis Research Center from 1982 to 1986.
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