High inc Atlas Centaur

Philip Chien (kc4yer@amsat.org)
Thu, 29 Jan 1998 15:14:18 -0400

I said:

...From what I can determine this is the very first high inclination
Atlas-Centaur mission (e.g. > 30 degrees).  Launch azmiuth was 45 degrees....

Bill Bard replied:

>The only possible launches at a higher inclination or a more northerly
>launch azimuth that I can think of off hand might be a lunar (surveyor)
>or planetary (Mariner 8/9) launch. They might not have gone into earth
>orbit and they probably weren't much higher than 40 deg inclination, but
>that's just a guess.

and jcm@urania.harvard.edu (Jonathan McDowell) said:

>High inc Centaur flights to date include HEAO 3 at 43 deg,
>That's the record before now; Mariner and Pioneer were in the
>28 to 34 deg range in their parking orbit phases. So this
>flight is a new record.
> Jonathan McDowell

Hmm, I don't suppose anybody believes that that was a typo and I intended
to say 50 degress ...

I was aware of the various LEO and planetary Atlas-Centaurs and tried to
phrase my comment to take those in to account.

But there have been 63.4 degree _Centaurs_ before -- using the Titan IV
launch vehicle instead of an Atlas.  Of course all of those launched
satellites which may or may not exist, so we really shouldn't talk about
them.  ;-)

In any case new Centaur inclination records will be set next year when the
upgrades are completed at SLC-3E at Vandenberg.  The single-stage Atlas pad
there is being upgraded to support Centaurs for heavy LEO polar payloads
such as NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (or whatever it's been renamed).

What's interesting is it will mark the first use of a Centaur and liquid
hydrogen at Vandenberg.  There were previous programs which were supposed
to use hydrogen at Vandenberg (SLC-6 for Shuttle, SLC-7 for Titan
IV-Centaur) but were cancelled before their first flights.

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.