Author Topic: Project Centaur Progress Report - Historic Films  (Read 468 times)

Offline catdlr

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Project Centaur Progress Report - Historic Films
« on: 11/15/2017 09:56 PM »
Jul-Dec 1964 Convair-NASA; Atlas-Centaur 4 Flight Test

Jeff Quitney
Published on Nov 15, 2017

AC-4, the Atlas-Centaur fourth flight, on 11 Dec 1964 reached orbit successfully, but the RL-10 engine could not be restarted due to an ill-conceived design modification--the ullage rockets were reduced in size to save weight, however, they proved insufficient to settle the propellants in the tanks. Venting liquid hydrogen caused the Centaur to tumble out of control.

Contractor's progress report film for the liquid hydrogen-fueled Centaur upper stage manufactured by General Dynamics' Convair division. Includes preparation for lunar flights of the Surveyor spacecraft.

Convair film AT-CR-362

Centaur is a rocket stage designed for use as the upper stage of space launch vehicles and is currently used on the Atlas V. Centaur was the world's first high-energy upper stage, burning liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX), and has enabled the launch of some of NASA's most important scientific missions over its 50-year history.

Centaur was the brainchild of Karel J. "Charlie" Bossart (the man behind the Atlas ICBM) and Dr. Krafft A. Ehricke, both Convair employees. Their design was essentially a smaller version of the Atlas, with its concept of using lightweight "stainless steel balloon" tanks whose structural rigidity was provided solely by the pressure of the propellants within. To keep the tanks from collapsing prior to propellant loading, they were either kept in "stretch" or pressurized with nitrogen gas.

Centaur is powered by one or two RL10 rocket engines (SEC and DEC variants respectively).

History

In 1956 Krafft Ehricke of Convair began to study a liquid hydrogen upper stage rocket. In 1958 the project started through a joint between Convair, Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and U.S. Air Force. In 1959 NASA assumed ARPA's role. Development started at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and then at Lewis Research Center, now the Glenn Research Center, but proceeded slowly, with the first (unsuccessful) test flight in May 1962.

The Centaur was originally designed for use with the Atlas launch vehicle family, which shared its balloon structure. Known in early planning as the "high-energy upper stage", its eventual name was proposed by Krafft Ehricke of General Dynamics, who also directed its development.

Centaur was considered essential for the launch of the Surveyor probes, as well as proving the viability of liquid hydrogen as a high energy fuel. Both were important to the Apollo program—the Surveyor probes to study the lunar regolith and confirm that crewed landings would be possible, while liquid hydrogen had been selected as the ideal propellant for the Saturn I, IB, and Saturn V upper stages.

Initial Atlas-Centaur launches used developmental versions, labeled Centaur-A through C. The first launch on May 8, 1962, ended in an explosion 54 seconds after launch when insulation panels on the Centaur failed and caused the LH2 tank to rupture. After extensive redesigns, the next test took place on November 26, 1963, and was successful.

On May 30, 1966, an Atlas-Centaur boosted the first Surveyor lander towards the Moon. The soft landing of Surveyor 1 in the Ocean of Storms was NASA's first landing on any extraterrestrial body. This was followed by six more Surveyor missions over the next two years, four of which were successful, though Atlas-Centaur performed as expected for each launch. Further, these missions demonstrated the feasibility of reigniting a hydrogen engine in space, a capability vital to Apollo, and provided information on the behavior of liquid hydrogen in space.

By the 1970s, Centaur was fully mature and had become the standard rocket stage for launching larger civilian payloads into high earth orbit. In addition, it replaced the Atlas-Agena vehicle for NASA planetary probe missions. The Department of Defense meanwhile preferred to use the Titan booster family for its heavy lift needs.

Through 1989, the Centaur-D was used as the upper stage for 63 Atlas rocket launches, 55 of which were successful...

Launch history
Status:  Active
Total launches:  223 as of February 2015

----------------------------------------------
Originally a public domain film from the US Air Force slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

There is a broadband hum in the vocal frequencies of this film which I cannot completely remove.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvT1Ty_hKJE?t=001


Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: Project Centaur Progress Report - Historic Films
« Reply #1 on: 11/28/2017 04:56 AM »
Atlas-Centaur 5 Launch Pad Explosion: "Project Centaur Progress Report" Jan-Jun 1965 Convair-NASA

Jeff Quitney
Published on Nov 27, 2017

AC-5, the Atlas-Centaur fifth flight, on March 2, 1965:  disaster as the Atlas booster created the biggest pad explosion yet seen at Cape Canaveral.

Contractor's progress report film for the liquid hydrogen-fueled Centaur upper stage.

Convair film AT-CR-379

Centaur is a rocket stage designed for use as the upper stage of space launch vehicles and is currently used on the Atlas V. Centaur was the world's first high-energy upper stage, burning liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOX), and has enabled the launch of some of NASA's most important scientific missions over its 50-year history.

Centaur was the brainchild of Karel J. "Charlie" Bossart (the man behind the Atlas ICBM) and Dr. Krafft A. Ehricke, both Convair employees. Their design was essentially a smaller version of the Atlas, with its concept of using lightweight "stainless steel balloon" tanks whose structural rigidity was provided solely by the pressure of the propellants within. To keep the tanks from collapsing prior to propellant loading, they were either kept in "stretch" or pressurized with nitrogen gas.

Centaur is powered by one or two RL10 rocket engines (SEC and DEC variants respectively).

History

In 1956 Krafft Ehricke of Convair began to study a liquid hydrogen upper stage rocket. In 1958 the project started through a joint between Convair, Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and U.S. Air Force. In 1959 NASA assumed ARPA's role.

The Centaur was originally designed for use with the Atlas launch vehicle family, which shared its balloon structure.

Centaur was considered essential for the launch of the Surveyor probes, as well as proving the viability of liquid hydrogen as a high energy fuel.

The fifth flight on March 2, 1965, was only intended to carry out a single burn of the Centaur, and program officials felt confident that this simple mission could be performed with no difficulties. In addition, the booster carried the operational model of the MA-5 engines with uprated thrust for the first time. Instead, AC-5 proved a complete disaster as the Atlas's fuel prevalves accidentally closed one second after liftoff, cutting off thrust to the booster engines. The sustainer engine by itself could not lift the 150-ton rocket and it fell back onto LC-36A in the biggest pad explosion yet seen at Cape Canaveral.

Postflight investigation found that the fuel prevalves had only opened partially and the propellant flow force was enough to push them shut, starving the booster engines of RP-1 and causing a LOX-rich shutdown. Engine start had proceeded normally and all booster systems functioned properly until the prevalves closed. Bench testing confirmed that there were several possible ways that the prevalves would only open partially, and in this case, it appeared to be the result of an incorrectly-installed pressure transducer. This failure mode had never occurred in the 240 Atlas launches prior to AC-5. To prevent a recurrence, the prevalves were equipped with a lock that would be enabled during the prelaunch countdown.

After LC-36B was hastily brought online, AC-6 launched on August 11 and was entirely successful.

On May 30, 1966, an Atlas-Centaur boosted the first Surveyor lander towards the Moon. The soft landing of Surveyor 1 in the Ocean of Storms was NASA's first landing on any extraterrestrial body. This was followed by six more Surveyor missions over the next two years, four of which were successful, though Atlas-Centaur performed as expected for each launch.

By the 1970s, Centaur was fully mature and had become the standard rocket stage for launching larger civilian payloads into high earth orbit. In addition, it replaced the Atlas-Agena vehicle for NASA planetary probe missions. The Department of Defense meanwhile preferred to use the Titan booster family for its heavy lift needs.

Through 1989, the Centaur-D was used as the upper stage for 63 Atlas rocket launches, 55 of which were successful.

--------------------------------

Originally a public domain film from the US Air Force slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRyGHICQCIk?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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