Author Topic: The Shuttle Centaur  (Read 83106 times)

Offline Fequalsma

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Liked: 6
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #40 on: 05/01/2010 09:05 PM »
See also:

Mark D. Bowles, “Eclipsed by Tragedy: A History of Shuttle/Centaur,” To Reach the High Frontier: Case Studies in Launch Vehicle History, ed. Roger Launius (Washington, D.C.: NASA, 2002).

Offline TJL

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1144
  • Liked: 6
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #41 on: 05/01/2010 09:44 PM »
Jim...of the 3 planned Shuttle / Centaur missions in 1986, was payload weight close to the 65k max permitted?
Thanks.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2010 09:45 PM by TJL »

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7832
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 341
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #42 on: 05/01/2010 10:14 PM »
I also got the top level configuration drawings.
No way you could scan those?
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32056
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 10693
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #43 on: 05/01/2010 11:18 PM »
Jim...of the 3 planned Shuttle / Centaur missions in 1986, was payload weight close to the 65k max permitted?
Thanks.

The Galileo mission was at 65k

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32056
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 10693
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #44 on: 05/01/2010 11:19 PM »
I also got the top level configuration drawings.
No way you could scan those?

They are full size, I only have a 8x 11 scanner.

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7832
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 341
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #45 on: 05/01/2010 11:35 PM »
I also got the top level configuration drawings.
No way you could scan those?

They are full size, I only have a 8x 11 scanner.
No way you could scan them in segments and then use a photo-editing program to stitch them back together? If you can scan and post the segments, I can stitch them back together into the full images.
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11110
  • Liked: 2571
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #46 on: 05/02/2010 12:49 AM »
Very nice find Jim! Blackstar: Read the NASA SP Taming Liquid Hydrogen, The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4230.pdf

The answer you want is in Chapter 7, Eclipsed by Tragedy, page 206.

Yeah, I'm mentioned in the acknowledgments section of that book for helping the author with the manuscript, but I don't remember it having the answer.

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7832
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 341
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #47 on: 05/02/2010 01:44 AM »
Very nice find Jim! Blackstar: Read the NASA SP Taming Liquid Hydrogen, The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4230.pdf

The answer you want is in Chapter 7, Eclipsed by Tragedy, page 206.

Yeah, I'm mentioned in the acknowledgments section of that book for helping the author with the manuscript, but I don't remember it having the answer.
Well, they did have meetings about the Centaur safety(given by then-LeRC)but I guess that the strained relationship between JSC and LeRC over the Centaur(JSC and KSC wanted MSFC to lead the Shuttle/Centaur program despite LeRC's experience with the Centaur) led to JSC getting the upper hand in the fight over the Centaur's struggle for survival.

Not only that, as Centaur was treated as a payload rather than orbiter system, it came under some pretty stringent safety rules, which it couldn't meet. I guess that was sort of a payback from JSC over that MSFC didn't get the program.

Had the Centaur been governed by the same rules that would eventually be applied to the EDO kit, I think it might have survived for the planned NASA flights(Galileo and Ulysses).

This is just speculation from what I have read over the years on the subject.
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline yinzer

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1509
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #48 on: 05/02/2010 02:47 AM »
Oh, those are nice!

I've whined about this before, but I'll do so again: there's no good history explaining why--with citations--the Shuttle Centaur was canceled.  The few accounts that I have read essentially say "after Challenger, the astronauts objected and it was eliminated."  But there had to be meetings where it was discussed, and data that was presented.

Have you located the Congressional report that recommended cancellation?  I found a quote from a contemporary newspaper article complaining about the risk of spending further hundreds of millions of dollars improving the program and then having it be cancelled anyway.

You might also look at how quickly payloads decamped; Galileo could barely fly before Challenger; after the inevitable decrease in payload capacity from safety improvements, Lewis thought it wouldn't be able to fly at all.  If the USAF and NRO were already looking to move their big geosync birds to Titan IV, the number of Shuttle-Centaur flights would suddenly be a lot smaller.  Since development costs were suddenly much higher, cancellation would start looking more and more attractive.
California 2008 - taking rights from people and giving rights to chickens.

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11110
  • Liked: 2571
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #49 on: 05/02/2010 03:54 AM »
I'll plead ignorance on all this because it is not a subject I've looked at recently.  Awhile back I reviewed a couple of manuscripts that had sections on Shuttle Centaur.  One was the Jenkins/Launius edited book on rockets and the other was the "Taming Liquid Hydrogen" book.  In both cases I suggested that the authors get more information on the cancellation, because they were rather thin.  In the case of "Taming," it is possible that the author did that (she did make a number of changes and improvements to the manuscript in response to reviews), but I know that the other essay didn't change.*

So maybe the story has been covered better and I'm just ignorant of it.  In general, I think that the Centaur story has been well told, whereas my own favorite, the Agena, has not.



*For "Taming Liquid Hydrogen" I also provided a lot of documents to the author and also suggested that she get more info on the connection to the Advent comsat.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8628
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1103
  • Likes Given: 241
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #50 on: 05/03/2010 01:37 PM »
A bit late, but Jim, thanks again for those images. I had only seen one of them before. They are just jaw dropping.
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Skylab

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 452
  • Liked: 53
  • Likes Given: 38
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #51 on: 05/03/2010 08:54 PM »
I've not seen this bit of info mentioned specifically on this thread, so it might be worth sharing:
http://books.google.nl/books?id=mUNS96ZHyNUC&pg=PA415&lpg=PP1&dq=A+History+of+Shuttle/Centaur

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7832
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 341
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #52 on: 08/05/2010 07:39 PM »
I also got the top level configuration drawings.
No way you could scan those?

They are full size, I only have a 8x 11 scanner.
No way you could scan them in segments and then use a photo-editing program to stitch them back together? If you can scan and post the segments, I can stitch them back together into the full images.
Just to give this suggestion a bump as it would be very nice to have.
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline Graham2001

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Liked: 16
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #53 on: 08/07/2010 10:28 AM »
Jim,

I'd like to thank you for posting those images I'd only seen one of them before, the second of the Galileo pictures.

Online DaveS

  • Shuttle program observer
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7832
  • Sweden
  • Liked: 341
  • Likes Given: 14
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #54 on: 03/01/2011 08:22 AM »
Jim,

I'd like to thank you for posting those images I'd only seen one of them before, the second of the Galileo pictures.
Yes. Here's another that I have found, this time of it in the SPIF. Any shots of the +Y quadrant that has the LOX pipes?
"For Sardines, space is no problem!"
-1996 Astronaut class slogan

"We're rolling in the wrong direction but for the right reasons"
-USA engineer about the rollback of Discovery prior to the STS-114 Return To Flight mission

Offline simonbp

Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #55 on: 03/18/2011 03:44 PM »
Sorry for the necromancy, but I just found a bunch of images of the sole Centaur-G on display. Enjoy!

Offline Danderman

  • Extreme Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9597
  • Liked: 354
  • Likes Given: 460
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #56 on: 03/18/2011 03:58 PM »
What I don't understand is why this hardware is not used for EELV for LEO payloads. Yeah, I know that there aren't any actual LEO payloads that need it today, but there are plenty of potential payloads, like Orion.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8628
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1103
  • Likes Given: 241
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #57 on: 03/18/2011 04:04 PM »
What I don't understand is why this hardware is not used for EELV for LEO payloads. Yeah, I know that there aren't any actual LEO payloads that need it today, but there are plenty of potential payloads, like Orion.

ummm... Titan 4 centaur.
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32056
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 10693
  • Likes Given: 318
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #58 on: 03/18/2011 04:11 PM »
What I don't understand is why this hardware is not used for EELV for LEO payloads. Yeah, I know that there aren't any actual LEO payloads that need it today, but there are plenty of potential payloads, like Orion.

The DIV Heavy upperstage is larger and the current Centaur carries nearly the same amount of propellant.

Online Blackstar

  • Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11110
  • Liked: 2571
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #59 on: 03/18/2011 08:32 PM »
Sorry for the necromancy, but I just found a bunch of images of the sole Centaur-G on display. Enjoy!

I have a bunch like that too.  It's a beautiful artifact that is marred by the poor way that they sealed off the engine nozzles from the elements.  They had rotted plywood stuck in there, with holes in it.  Heck, give me $30 and I could have come up with a better solution.

Tags: