Transformed to meet our customer's needs, our cost has dropped considerably to provide the best value choice.
Will provide higher performance and greater affordability while continuing to deliver our unmatched reliability and precision.
Flight-proven design, coupled with innovative technology, will transform the future of space launch.
Vulcan Centaur is available in four standard offering configurations including zero, two, four and six solid rocket booster (SRB) variants.
Optimal orbit for each customer, delivering industry best spacecraft orbital insertion accuracy.
GEO (Geosynchronous Orbit)=35,786 km Circular at 0 deg
GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit)=35,786 km x 185 km at 27.0 deg
LEO (Low Earth Orbit-Reference) =200 km circular at 28.7 deg or 90 deg
LEO ISS (Low Earth Orbit-International Space Station) =407 km circular at 51.6 deg
Example: Peregrine will fly on a VC2S, Dream Chaser will fly on a VC4L
The payload fairing (PLF) provides a controlled, safe environment for spacecraft during ascent. All ULA PLFs are configured for off-pad payload encapsulation to enhance payload safety and security and minimize on-pad time.
The spacecraft is encapsulated in a 5.4-m- (17.7-ft-) diameter payload fairing (PLF), a sandwich composite structure made with a vented aluminum-honeycomb core and graphite-epoxy face sheets. The bisector (two-piece shell) PLF encapsulates the spacecraft. The payload attach fitting (PAF) is a similar sandwich composite structure creating the mating interface from spacecraft to second stage and payload fairing. The PLF separates using a debris-free horizontal and vertical separation system with spring packs and frangible joint assembly. The payload fairing is available in the 15.5-m (51-ft) standard and 21.3-m (70-ft) long configurations.
Access to orbit remains a critical hurdle for many missions. However, ULA provides flexible and cost-effective multi-manifest solutions to overcome this barrier. With multi-manifest, two or more spacecraft are integrated on a launch vehicle using available performance and volume margin that would otherwise go unused — optimizing mass to orbit and enabling missions. Multi-Manifest on a Vulcan Centaur rocket provides a highly reliable and schedule certain launch solution for spacecraft ranging from CubeSats to small sats and beyond.
Dependent on the size of the spacecraft, multi-manifesting on a Vulcan Centaur can be done in several ways. The Aft Bulkhead Carrier (ABC) interfaces at the aft end of the Centaur upper stage and can carry up to 24U CubeSats weighing 80 kg each. The Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA Ring) is located between the upper stage and the primary payload and can accommodate 4-6 payload modules weighing up to 318 kg each. Finally, for small satellites exceeding the mass of an ESPA capability, the Multi-Payload Canister System is a load-bearing separating canister that can be utilized to enclose an aft small satellite while supporting a forward traditional large satellite.
Booster propulsion is provided by a pair of BE-4 engines, manufactured by Blue Origin.
Nominal Thrust (sea level): 550,000 lbs
Fuel/Oxidizer: Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)/Liquid Oxygen (LO2)
Vulcan Centaur integrates up to six Northrop Grumman Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM) 63XL Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). They are constructed out of a graphite-epoxy composite with the throttle profile designed into the propellant grain. GEM solids supported
the Delta II and Delta IV rockets, and the GEM 63 variant will fly on ULA’s Atlas V rocket prior to the first Vulcan
Peak Vacuum Thrust: 459,600 lbs
Length: 71.8 ft
Nominal Burn Time: 90 seconds
Vulcan Centaur will rely on two RL10C engines to power its second stage. Logging an impressive record of nearly 400 successful flights and nearly 700 firings in space, RL10 engines, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, harness the power of high-energy
liquid hydrogen. The RL10 boasts a precision control system and restart capability to accurately place payloads into orbit.
Nominal Thrust: 24,000 lbs
Fuel/Oxidizer: Liquid Hydrogen/Liquid Oxygen
ULA has been heavily investing in modifying our factory in Decatur, Alabama, and modernize our infrastructure at the launch facilities in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to support Vulcan Centaur Rockets. Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) will be the first dual-use
pad launching both Atlas V and Vulcan Centaur rocket families.
Decatur, Alabama Factory
Cape Canaveral, Florida Launch Facilities