Encyclopedia Astronautica
Centaur D/E


Lox/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 16,258/2,631 kg. Thrust 131.22 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 444 seconds.

Cost $ : 20.300 million. No Engines: 2.

Status: Study 1968.
Gross mass: 16,258 kg (35,842 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 2,631 kg (5,800 lb).
Height: 9.60 m (31.40 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 131.22 kN (29,500 lbf).
Specific impulse: 444 s.
Burn time: 470 s.
Number: 71 .

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Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • MR-106 Redmond hydrazine monopropellant rocket engine. 0.027 kN. Spacecraft and upper stage attitude control and velocity corrections, PAM A/S,. Radarsat, GPS Block 2R, HAS/Peace Courage, Titan Centaur, Atlas Centaur. In Production. Isp=232s. More...
  • RL-10A-3 Pratt and Whitney lox/lh2 rocket engine. 65.6 kN. Study 1968. Isp=444s. First flight 1967. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Titan 3BAS2 American orbital launch vehicle. Configuration of Titan 3B proposed by Martin in mid-1960's. Titan 3B for deep space missions with Centaur upper stage, Algol strapons for liftoff thrust augmentation. Never flown. More...
  • Saturn IB-A American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: S-IB with 225 k lbf H-1's; S-IVB stretched with 350,000 lbs propellants; Centaur third stage. More...
  • Saturn IB-CE American orbital launch vehicle. Douglas Studies, 1965: Standard Saturn IB with Centaur upper stage. More...
  • Titan 3L2 American orbital launch vehicle. Variant of Titan with 15 foot Large Diameter Core, 2 x 7 segment strap-ons. Man-rated, optimized for delivery of heavy payloads into LEO. Never developed. More...
  • Titan 3L4 American orbital launch vehicle. Variant of Titan with 15 foot Large Diameter Core, 4 x 7 segment strap-ons. Man rated, optimized for delivery of 40,000 pound manned payloads into 250 nm / 50 deg space station orbit. More...
  • Saturn V-Centaur American orbital launch vehicle. MSFC study, 1968. S-ID stage-and-a-half first stage and Saturn IVB second stage. Centaur available as third stage for deep space missions. 30% performance improvement over Saturn V-A/Saturn INT-20 with standard Saturn IC first stage. More...
  • Titan 3E American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3D with Centaur D-1T upper stage. Used by NASA for deep space missions in 1970's. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/LH2 Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. Liquid hydrogen was identified by all the leading rocket visionaries as the theoretically ideal rocket fuel. It had big drawbacks, however - it was highly cryogenic, and it had a very low density, making for large tanks. The United States mastered hydrogen technology for the highly classified Lockheed CL-400 Suntan reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. The technology was transferred to the Centaur rocket stage program, and by the mid-1960's the United States was flying the Centaur and Saturn upper stages using the fuel. It was adopted for the core of the space shuttle, and Centaur stages still fly today. More...

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