ATLAS IIIB-Centaur Fact Sheet
Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge
Classification: Space Launch Vehicle
Length: 173 feet
Diameter: 10 feet
Date of First Cape Canaveral Launch: February 21, 2002
Date of Final Cape Canaveral Launch: February 3, 2005
Number of Cape Canaveral Launches: 4
Otherwise identical to the Atlas IIIA, the Atlas IIIB improved performance by employing a two-engine Centaur upper stage, as opposed to a one-engine Centaur upper stage employed on the Atlas IIIA. The two-engine Centaur, featuring two RL-10A engines, could produce a thrust of 41,592 pounds, roughly double the thrust of a single RL-10A engine. In the new configuration, the Atlas IIIB was capable of carrying a 23,630-pound payload to Low-Earth Orbit or a 9,900-pound payload to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
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