Centaur - A NASA Workhorse
Workers at the Propulsion Systems Laboratory at Lewis Research Center, now John H. Glenn Research Center, develop the Centaur upper stage rocket. The Centaur was an ambitious rocket using liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. It was the first rocket to ever use hydrogen as a propulsion fuel and underwent a difficult development period. It later became a highly successful upper stage used for hundreds of NASA, commercial and military payloads.
On Nov. 27, 1963, NASA had a successful launch of the first Atlas/Centaur. No payload was carried, but the powerful rocket scored a significant milestone: first in-flight burn of a liquid-hydrogen/liquid-oxygen engine. Major successes followed rapidly.
Image Credit: NASA
This image was captured just before George said “How ‘bout some fresh air?” and pulled the lever that sprayed Ralph in the face with 57 kilograms of liquid oxygen at 3,000 psi.
Good times. Good times.