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  #1  
Old 05-04-2019, 02:14 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default "Short" Atlas-Centaur (video)

Hello All,

I just came across *this* www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpId8SquVOY video of the launch of the very first Atlas-Centaur, which also shows it on the launch pad (LC-36A, I think). This test vehicle, which was painted with a roll pattern, was quite short, apparently having only the conical (without the rear cylinder section) top portion of the payload fairing (much like [if not the same ones] the payload fairing used on the Titan IIIAs and the early Titan IIICs).
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:19 PM
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ghrocketman ghrocketman is offline
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Nothing quite like an early-NASA high-quality MALfunction.
As long as nobody gets hurt, I LIKE EXPLOSIONS. (Same for catos and Powr-Prangs)
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:21 PM
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It looked like something let go in the Centaur. I'll have to read up on it and see.

Edit (from Wiki): "The failure was determined to be caused by an insulation panel that ripped off the Centaur during ascent, resulting in a surge in tank pressure when the LH2 overheated."
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:40 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Nothing quite like an early-NASA high-quality MALfunction.
As long as nobody gets hurt, I LIKE EXPLOSIONS. (Same for catos and Powr-Prangs)
Luckily nothing of value was riding on it--just vehicle data instrumentation. Fortunately, the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers got successful Delta II rides before that spectacular Delta II blow-up involving a GPS satellite.
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Old 05-04-2019, 03:47 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
It looked like something let go in the Centaur. I'll have to read up on it and see.

Edit (from Wiki): "The failure was determined to be caused by an insulation panel that ripped off the Centaur during ascent, resulting in a surge in tank pressure when the LH2 overheated."
I've read that too--Richard Lewis' 1968 book "Appointment on the Moon" said that that Atlas-Centaur, vehicle F-1 (which had stood on its pad for over a year, as the problems mounted), was intended to fly a suborbital mission, not running the Centaur engines long enough to achieve orbit. He wrote that the "plastic weather shield" (one of the foam plastic panels) broke and in the process, punctured the Centaur hydrogen tank, after which leaking hydrogen was ignited by the Atlas engines, causing the explosion. I've also seen a color film (it's on YouTube somewhere) of the F-1 explosion, in which a stream of "steaming" liquid hydrogen is clearly visible, running down the side of the vehicle just before the explosion; it also shows the Atlas sustainer engine and rear thrust cone falling in a flat spin afterward.
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:09 PM
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Here (see: www.youtube.com/watch?v=00abi75edBI [this one gives a reason]) and here (see: http://www.youtube.com/results?sear...entaur+explodes ) are ^color^ films of the Atlas-Centaur F-1 vehicle's short flight. Films of the spectacular on-pad failure--at the same pad F-1 flew from--of Atlas-Centaur AC-5 in 1965 (this video contains several excellent views, with sound: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YViFMC-ejKQ ), which fell back after rising just a few feet when one booster engine shut down, are also in the above-linked listing. Also:

AC-5 was carrying a Surveyor model, which was intended to be boosted into a lunar trajectory (likely to a hypothetical Moon in the real Moon's orbit, as was done with other Atlas-Centaur test vehicles). The vehicle could--and later did--send Surveyor landers to the Moon via direct-ascent trajectories, but it took a lot of work to perfect the Centaur's parking orbit restart capability, which offers--even today, with the Atlas V--much greater mission planning flexibility for lunar, interplanetary, and planetary missions. Without the restart capability, there were several months of the year in which the Atlas-Centaur (the early ones, at least) had no viable lunar launch windows; ^with^ the parking orbit and Centaur restart capability, there was at least one lunar launch window each month.
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http://www.lulu.com/content/paperba...an-form/8075185
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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Old 05-04-2019, 04:52 PM
PeterAlway PeterAlway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Hello All,

I just came across *this* www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpId8SquVOY video of the launch of the very first Atlas-Centaur, which also shows it on the launch pad (LC-36A, I think). This test vehicle, which was painted with a roll pattern, was quite short, apparently having only the conical (without the rear cylinder section) top portion of the payload fairing (much like [if not the same ones] the payload fairing used on the Titan IIIAs and the early Titan IIICs).


While this flight was shorter than some later flights, there's also an aspect ratio issue with the video. Here's an undistorted image:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasm...57627981313215/
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:06 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterAlway
While this flight was shorter than some later flights, there's also an aspect ratio issue with the video. Here's an undistorted image:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdasm...57627981313215/
Thank you, Peter. The Atlas and Centaur tankage appear to be of the same aspect ratio (length-to-diameter) as that of other early Atlas-Centaur vehicles, but the payload fairing still looks shorter than those of the subsequent rounds (not in terms of the cone included angle or the tip radius, but the cylindrical base portion).
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Black Shire--Draft horse in human form, model rocketeer, occasional mystic, and writer, see:
http://www.lulu.com/content/paperba...an-form/8075185
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
All of my book proceeds go to the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre www.northcotehorses.com.
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