Spaceline - Covering the Past, Present and Future of Cape Canaveral

Contact Spaceline

Spaceline Home/Site Index

Launch Schedules

Spaceline Logo Cape Canaveral Florida

spaceline, inc.

About Spaceline

Spaceline Photo Gallery

Gift Shop


Atlas IIAS-Centaur



Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge

Classification: Space Launch Vehicle

Length: 149 feet, 7 inches (with medium fairing),
155 feet, 10 inches (with large fairing)

Diameter: 10 feet


In all other respects identical to the Atlas IIA-Centaur, the innovative Atlas IIAS-Centaur introduced a significant modification to the Atlas family.

For the first time, solid rocket boosters were mounted on the Atlas first stage to provide a dramatic increase in payload capacity. A total of four Thiokol Castor IVA solid rocket boosters are strapped to the base of rocket.

Each solid rocket booster is 37 feet long and 3 feet, 4 inches wide and can produce a thrust of about 100,000 pounds at liftoff. The boosters burn HTPB solid fuel.

Two of the solid rocket boosters are ignited at liftoff. These "ground-lit" boosters burn out about one minute into the flight and are jettisoned by spring action about 30 seconds later.

The two remaining "air-lit" solid rocket boosters are ignited about ten seconds following burnout of the first two, then burn out themselves and are jettisoned about one minute later.

With the medium fairing, the Atlas IIAS-Centaur can carry a 19,000-pound payload to low-Earth orbit, an 8,200-pound payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit or a 5,890-pound payload to Earth-escape trajectory.

With the large fairing, the Atlas IIAS-Centaur can carry an 18,500-pound payload to low-Earth orbit, a 7,700-pound payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit or a 5,640-pound payload to Earth-escape trajectory.

Copyright 2012 Spaceline, Inc.