In the course of its maiden voyage in could 1962, a Centaur top level rocket, mated to an At l a sb o o s t e r, exploded fifty four seconds after release, engulfing the rocket in a massive fireball. In ve s t i g a t i o nre vealed that Centaur’s gentle, stainless steel tank had cut up open, spilling its liquid-hyd rogen fueld personal its facets, the place the flame of the rocket exhaust instantly ignited it. Coming much less thana 12 months after President Kennedy had made touchdown humans at the Moon a countrywide p r i o r i t y, the lack of Centaur used to be considered as a major setback for the nationwide Aeronautics and house management (NASA). in the course of the failure research, Homer Newell, Di rector of area Sciences, ruefully declared: “Taming liquid hydrogen to the purpose the place dear oper-ational house missions should be devoted to it has grew to become out to be tougher than a person intended on the outset.”
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