Author Topic: The Shuttle Centaur  (Read 91091 times)

Offline Jamie Young

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The Shuttle Centaur
« on: 05/03/2006 03:41 AM »
Kayla mentioned this was a month away from happening before Challenger, but I've never heard of this before. Anyone got images and info?

Offline Seattle Dave

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #1 on: 05/03/2006 03:45 AM »
Very little on google, in fact next to nothing.

This was interesting though.


http://yarchive.net/space/shuttle/shuttle_centaur.html

Offline J Britt RSA

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #2 on: 05/03/2006 03:53 AM »
There's a very short article about it on Astronautix.com: http://www.astronautix.com/stages/cenrgsts.htm

I remember seeing a black & white picture of the Galileo spacecraft being deployed from the Shuttle in some old space magazine. Before the Challenger disaster, there was a great deal of debate on how they would run the LOX/LH2 lines to fuel up the Centaur - would they run the lines through the shuttle's skin? What about an RTLS? How would they dump the Centaur's propellant?

After Challenger, the debate became moot and the idea was canned.

Offline Stowbridge

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #3 on: 05/03/2006 03:55 AM »
Some mention of this from one of the many Shuttle engineers on here (Steve the Deev in this case, last post):

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=882&posts=9
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Offline Skyrocket

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #4 on: 05/03/2006 06:35 AM »

Offline simcosmos

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #5 on: 05/03/2006 10:21 AM »
Probably already mentioned, sorry if it is the case

Funny coincidence: I recently was researching Centaur related stuff (perhaps will implement some kind of Centaur variant as a 3rd stage for my virtual world's SRB launcher Orbiter simulator add-on - slightly different from the one being planned in real world, hehe) and, among some images, etc, I started (re)reading an interesting pdf about Centaur that had here on my archives.

Pdf references:


Title: "Taming Liquid Hydrogen – The Centaur Upper Stage Rocket, 1958-2002"
Download: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4230.pdf
(from http://history.nasa.gov )


A very interesting reading covering many topics, Shuttle Centaur included.

António

my pics @ flickr

Offline psloss

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #6 on: 05/03/2006 11:15 AM »
Quote
Jamie Young - 2/5/2006  11:41 PM

Kayla mentioned this was a month away from happening before Challenger, but I've never heard of this before. Anyone got images and info?
They were a few months away; there was still integrated testing to do.  At the time of the accident, KSC was getting Atlantis ready to go out to Pad A for Centaur tanking tests well ahead of the launch.   The planetary windows opened in May '86.

Philip Sloss

Offline Jim

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #7 on: 05/03/2006 11:50 AM »
Quote
J Britt RSA - 2/5/2006  11:53 PMThere's a very short article about it on Astronautix.com: http://www.astronautix.com/stages/cenrgsts.htmI remember seeing a black & white picture of the Galileo spacecraft being deployed from the Shuttle in some old space magazine. Before the Challenger disaster, there was a great deal of debate on how they would run the LOX/LH2 lines to fuel up the Centaur - would they run the lines through the shuttle's skin? What about an RTLS? How would they dump the Centaur's propellant?After Challenger, the debate became moot and the idea was canned.

It wasn't an idea, it was a program and hardware for the May launches were on site being processed at the time of 51-L.

There were retractable umbilicals (Rolling Beam Umbilical System) on the top of the TSM's which mated with panels on the sides of the orbiter, towards the rear of the payload bay.

The LO2/LH2 were to be dumped during aborts thru the side panels.  There was a H2  vent on top of the tail.

There were two versions of the Shuttle Centaur:  G and G Prime .  They were equivalent to 10' dia squashed to 14'

The G was the basic version and it was sized to carry a 40' long 10k lb to GSO.  USAF's MILSTAR and "other" DOD payloads were to use it.  Also NASA's Magellan spacecraft.

The G Prime was longer to hold more prop for the high evergy Galileo and Ulysses missions.

The G Prime (along with the G avionics) went on to be the upperstage for the Titan -IV



Offline DaveS

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #8 on: 05/03/2006 12:37 PM »
Quote
Jim - 3/5/2006  1:50 PM
There were retractable umbilicals (Rolling Beam Umbilical System) on the top of the TSM's which mated with panels on the sides of the orbiter, towards the rear of the payload bay
I know Atlantis was delivered to KSC as a Centaur capable orbiter, so now I'm trying to locate some photos of these panels. Where they on both sides of the orbiter or only on one side?
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Offline Jim

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #9 on: 05/03/2006 12:50 PM »
Quote
DaveS - 3/5/2006  8:37 AM
Quote
Jim - 3/5/2006  1:50 PMThere were retractable umbilicals (Rolling Beam Umbilical System) on the top of the TSM's which mated with panels on the sides of the orbiter, towards the rear of the payload bay
I know Atlantis was delivered to KSC as a Centaur capable orbiter, so now I'm trying to locate some photos of these panels. Where they on both sides of the orbiter or only on one side?


Both

Offline simonbp

RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #10 on: 05/03/2006 02:21 PM »
Quote
Skyrocket - 3/5/2006  1:35 AM
Here are images of a Centaur-G including its Shuttle-cradle on display in Huntsville:

...

Here's one I took last summer:

http://wombat.ods.org/images/ussrc/56-Centar.jpg">

Interesting little factiod: like the Atlas A elsewhere in the museum, the Centaur has an automatic air compressor hooked up to it to keep the balloon tanks pressurised...

Simon ;)

Offline Orbiter Obvious

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #11 on: 05/03/2006 03:23 PM »
They were going to stick that in a Shuttle cargo bay?  :o

Offline Jim

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #12 on: 05/03/2006 03:29 PM »
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Orbiter Obvious - 3/5/2006  11:23 AMThey were going to stick that in a Shuttle cargo bay?  :o

It was only 2 months away from it

That's why Challenger had such a big impact on the US space program (both NASA and DOD).  Not only were missions delayed by the 3 year stand down.  Some missions lost their ride when Shuttle Centaur was cancelled.  They either were delayed until Titan-IV or took a performance hit (decreased mission life or longer trajectories) going to the  IUS.  Additionally, the shutdown of the VAFB pad did the same thing.  Missions either were delayed until Titan-IV or took a hit (decreased mission objectives) going to KSC.

And going further, the shutdown of US ELV production, delayed the restartup and gave Ariane a leg up

Offline Ben E

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #13 on: 05/03/2006 04:34 PM »
Jim,

Do you know of any other missions that would have used Centaur? As far as I'm aware, it was Galileo, Ulysses and Magellan, although I've heard it hinted that a few DoD missions out of Vandenberg would have needed Centaurs too.

Offline shuttlefan

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #14 on: 05/03/2006 06:24 PM »
They had to totally replan the Galileo and Magellan missions because the IUS is less powerful. That's where the gravity-assists came into play.

Offline Jim

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #15 on: 05/03/2006 06:57 PM »
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Ben E - 3/5/2006  12:34 PMJim,Do you know of any other missions that would have used Centaur? As far as I'm aware, it was Galileo, Ulysses and Magellan, although I've heard it hinted that a few DoD missions out of Vandenberg would have needed Centaurs too.

The Shuttle Centaur program offfice was half staffed with USAF personnel.  The G was for DOD requirements.  It had avionics to talk to USAF tracking sites. 

Milstar is one DOD spacecraft program, can't mention others

You can see the direct size translation from STS 60' payload bay to Titan IV 86' fairing.
STS - Centaur G 20' which leaves 40'
T-IV  - Centaur G Prime 26' (enclosed in fairing), fairing nose cap 20', which leaves a 40' barrel section

There were studies, but they would have been east coast missions moved west. 

Offline Launch Fan

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #16 on: 05/03/2006 08:11 PM »
That sure would have made RTLS aborts very interesting in a scary way!

Offline gladiator1332

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #17 on: 05/04/2006 12:51 AM »
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shuttlefan - 3/5/2006  2:24 PM

They had to totally replan the Galileo and Magellan missions because the IUS is less powerful. That's where the gravity-assists came into play.

So in a strange way, though we lost a powerful upperstage and some missions were scaled down, we saw the use of the gravity-assists that are used a lot more today.

Offline simonbp

RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #18 on: 05/04/2006 12:57 AM »
Though gravity-assist manuoevers are very time-limited, and mean a much longer time from launch to the start of the actual mission...

Simon ;)

Offline Jim

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RE: The Shuttle Centaur
« Reply #19 on: 05/04/2006 01:20 AM »
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gladiator1332 - 3/5/2006  8:51 PM
Quote
shuttlefan - 3/5/2006  2:24 PMThey had to totally replan the Galileo and Magellan missions because the IUS is less powerful. That's where the gravity-assists came into play.
So in a strange way, though we lost a powerful upperstage and some missions were scaled down, we saw the use of the gravity-assists that are used a lot more today.

Gravity assists existed before Challenger.  Voyagers, Mariner 10 and Pioneer 10 or 11 used them

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