Why Atlas Is Using Dual Engine Centaur For Starliner

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Boeing’s Starliner crew vehicle will be the first payload to use the Dual Engine Second Stage on the Atlas V since 2004. While the 2 engine version offers better payload to orbit, it’s very expensive and the actual reason for the 2 engine requirement is a bit more subtle and stems from earlier plans for post-Shuttle crew vehicles.

NASA Spaceflight Forums has a lot more on this subject, including links to many of the documents I’m citing

  1. JustAllinOneResource

    Thank You.

  2. GengarTV

    Why N for no fearing? It sounds nice and it’s logical but why not just use 0?

  3. J

    the problem with a lot of rockets is there powered by Russian engines and that’s shows weakness and we cannot allow Russian talking point to say American can’t do this without Russian engines

  4. Skukkix23

    Nice updates Scott! I don’t know if you ever made a comparison video of the various crew capsules and what will be the differences, but if not, please explain this topic!

  5. Quazar501

    Scientific studies… always ugly typography :p

  6. overkill1340

    Was there really ANY situation where a shuttle SRB could quit and it would be recoverable? I thought the asymmetric thrust would destroy the shuttle anyway.

  7. Rip Sumrall

    Astronauts are crazy! Now don’t me get wrong, I’d do it if allowed. But crazy none the less, crazy.

  8. PTNLemay

    Is the Orion capsule definitely done for then? Or are they just going to look for a new rocket to lift it, since the Ares I isn’t viable.

  9. nitehawk86

    5:13 Eyeballs In

  10. Keith Whisman

    I hope Starliner is a success as Boing is an American icon and are an example of American excellence.

  11. Evad Evad

    Love these type of videos

  12. leonelp51

    7:11 it doe surelly looks like one of those almost failed launches in ksp

  13. christopher robinson

    Fly Safe

  14. n balaboon

    Great video bro ! wow!

  15. cryhavoc

    Really enjoyed this. Ty

  16. Cid Sapient

    i wonder if astronauts got as happy as i do in ksp when i pop that last stage off and am headed for re-entry
    but prolly not considering its not a game and re-entry is as dangerous as take off lol

  17. Joe Mckirdy

    Anyone notice the shielding at the end detaching and floating by the stage before then engine started?

  18. AeroSpaceNews.com

    Nicely done on this video Scott!

  19. malaperdas malaperdas

    *Duel engine atlas intensifies *

  20. Tre Flip

    I’m confused. What’s a Jool Engine?

  21. Not Urbusiness

    Im not a rocketscientist but shouldnt three engines make for a far more stabile system Like a chair needs three legs ?

  22. Robert McBride

    What happened to KSP?

  23. Philip Mangiovillano

    I still believe Aries 1 would have been better for the Country to avoid the gap. The Air Force study is biased., Lets pray for successful commercial crew.

  24. Ricardo Becerra

    You should no for that black zone! ❓

  25. Benedek Kovács

    78 views and 33 likes this is probably the quickest I will ever watch a Scott Manley video.

  26. indylovelace

    I appreciate the amount of research and effort it takes to pull even one of these videos together, but you are cranking out content like crazy. I hope you have staff behind the scenes helping you pull all this together…otherwise all work and no play won’t make for a happy Scott!

  27. anticarrrot

    Slight correction: The RL-10 can be scaled up quite a bit, which is where the RL-60 comes from. Though it’s probably not worth starting up a new production line when a new thrust structure and twice the engines will do a good enough job.

  28. Alistair Shaw

    The dual centuar looks the part

  29. klosskopf der1.

    Does this mean , that a droneship landing is more suitable for crewed dragon?

  30. crazycarl864

    I feel like your educational videos on the mechanics of spaceflight are such a great way to supplement and build up watching the actual launches. Anyone can watch a launch and be impressed by hardware involved, but knowing just a little more makes it even more impressive to see these engineering marvels work.

  31. Mike Schultz

    I must admit that I was surprised to learn that the original unmanned moon Landers, the Mariners I believe, used centaur upper stages. I thought how long have they been flying these things? I’d love a history of the centaur rocket video or a pointer to a good reference.

  32. Zedbot

    3:54 – Scott, I’m super interested in this. Is there anything academic written that acknowledges what you’re saying here or is it just the general feel in the discipline? I do things with theory-laden perception and interpretations of evidence.

  33. Mush V. Peets

    N22? Why not just 022? N22 sounds like some obscure model number, not a booster config. :(
    Also, what caused that one Atlas CBC to crap out before its burn time was over?

  34. Aaron Ellis

    I get excited every time u make a video

  35. StYxXx

    Customary units in scientific papers…ouch…

  36. Misdelivered Dishwasher

    I covered my second stage with a fairing in KSP once, I’m not sure why. Hadn’t realized that was an actual thing that NASA did though.

  37. Abbreviated Reviews

    We require… moar rocket.

  38. Justin Franks

    The weird SRB placement on the Atlas family just bothers me. Even when there are an even number of boosters, they’re not positioned uniformly. Is there any functional reason why this is done?

  39. Harmon Wood

    Betcha s a snowcone the SLS never goes anywhere.

  40. Aaron Peavler/Geomodelrailroader Railroad Photography

    Atlas Cantor is man rated we flew on them during Mercury and Gemini

  41. The NotFlat Earth

    And then there’s an atlas with only 2 srbs

  42. hotmojoe.

    I spaced out for a minute and when Scott was saying “dual” I heard “juul.” I had to rewind and make sure that I wasn’t going crazy 😂

  43. Nathanael Vetters

    I was wondering why they were using the dual engine, thanks!

  44. Norman1951 Norman

    Love the “rocket science”.

  45. Interrobang

    6:57 I have done this in KSP more times than I care to relate….

  46. Jim's videos

    A guy named Stapf analyzing ejection seats, huh?

  47. D Williams

    I’m a bit confused about the current Atlas versions.  I worked on the original Atlas at Astronautics in San Diego, as well as the Centaur, and there is virtually no link between the original and the V, other than the names Atlas and Centaur.

  48. Sweg420

    Short answer : *it needs moar boosters*

  49. Bradley Wasser

    I’ve seen some diagrams of ULAs Vulcan and on it they have a 4 engine upper stage centaur

  50. TheAtom

    Meanwhile SpaceX plans to use a single engine upper stage with a reusable 1st stage to launch crew.

  51. Russ Cooke

    I learned something, happy days….

  52. Ferghus Meighan

    Fly Safe!

  53. Moswyn

    Are you saying “Jool Engine Centaur” ?

  54. Matouš Klugar

    The various topics which came from you always fascinate me. Well done Scott!

  55. Canadian Student Space Initiative

    Good to see so much hard work being put into making future spacecraft as safe as possible

  56. Mastershooter 63

    I knew it was the centaur by looking at the thumbnail and are you saying dual or jool?

  57. yogibear6363

    An extra engine means an extra $25 million in cost.
    Good luck competing against SpaceX.

  58. Hyperus

    Was thinking it was to keep it from rolling. Mhhhh, can Imagine it having both as a reason

  59. Alex Siemers

    6:20 so they aren’t allowed to use tweakscale?

  60. thinfourth

    How can it have one solid rocket booster without ending up like a Catherine wheel?

  61. zombielinkinpark

    The expander cycle that RL10 use can be scale up with 2x of thrust, the Pratt and Whitney RL60 feature 2x of thrust of rl10. NASA or other launch provider just don’t want to pay more money into development of a new upper stage engine and end up with only RL10.

  62. grovermatic

    I’ve never even played the game, but you’ve got my brain reading “KSC” as Kerbal Space Center. :-D

  63. MaximumROC

    Your passion for the subject matter and your explanations make this channel one of my favorites.

  64. Junn

    N22 could be a follow up to the N1 xD

  65. David McGuire

    This reentry and launch black zone stuff could also be filed under “Things KSP doesn’t teach.” I don’t think I would have very many surviving Kerbal’s if my reentry trajectory mattered.

  66. Bigfatboko.

    It would be intresting to get a breakdown of types of rockets and there % of success rates and suchlike.Great channel for a non technical dude like me.

  67. Redshift

    Thank you, I was literally just last night reading about cst-100, wondering when it was launching. As always, quality video.

  68. Dan Allnatt

    Really looking forward to seeing the Dreamchaser flying in the future.

  69. Launch Pad Astronomy

    I always learn a ton here. Great video, man!

  70. Frankie Ford

    Scott…I gotta tell ya….I’m not getting that warm an fuzzy feeling…..🤔

  71. etbadaboum

    Fascinating insights. Incredible.

  72. QuietElite

    It will be nice to see dual engine Centaur upper stages again since I like the iconic layout with 2 RL-10 engines :)
    However I think the RL-10 is really pushed to its limits in terms of future manned missions. They should really continue with the J-2X development and use it as upperstage engine for the SLS instead of clustering RL-10 engines like on the Saturn I.

  73. Charlie Beran

    A question I have had for years finally answered. Thank you Scott!

  74. Random Guy

    can someone Photoshop an “Expectation vs Reality” Meme of Centaur pointing upwards and Vega Upperstage pointing downwards?

  75. Nuran On

    And I thought too low thrust on 2nd stages resulting in desperate fights against gravity, was something you only get in KSP.

  76. SetTheCurve

    How on earth does this guy have the time to:
    1) find all this info
    2) make these videos
    3) have a full time job

  77. Daniel Dorda

    really interesting video for the evening, thanks scott!

  78. Aluminum Oxide

    Can’t wait to fly on that rocket! Great video Scott, that explains why my KSP RSS Atlas V upper stage kept falling back to earth

  79. Alucard Pawpad

    Black zones: If something goes wrong, you literally die and that’s it.

  80. Aaron Porebski

    By contrast, SLS Block I will fly with just the single RL10 engined ICPS upper stage. Is this because the SLS Core Stage puts the Orion capsule and the upper stage very close to being in orbit, so no lofted trajectory required for the ICPS to make orbit?

  81. TCVidz

    Hi Scott, at about the 5:00 mark, you said the study did manage to find a way to bring an Atlas V401 just within limits.
    1. How was it proposed that this be done, and
    2. Why then does CST100 “Starliner” require a dual engine centaur?

  82. Андрей Желтяк

    “I’m Scott Manley, fly safe.”
    [opens Steam, launches KSP]

  83. Brian Kite

    Sorry this isn’t related, but are you going to talk about how the hole on the ISS turned out to be a drilled hole rather than a debris strike?

  84. WWeronko

    The RL-10 is an extraordinarily expensive 1950’s technology rocket engine. If NASA and the Air Force had finished funding the development of its replacement the RL-60 with 200-250 kN (50,000-65,000 lbf) of thrust none of these issues would exist.
    The weakness of the SLS is it is an essentially a conglomeration of old to darn near ancient technology. It will never be economic. The SLS will launch a few times before even its most ardent supporters will have to admit it is unaffordable and something modern will replace it.
    What a horrible waste of tax payer money.

  85. Yancarlo Ramsey

    Very interesting. I love videos like this where you explain what’s going on in upcoming space news.

  86. Cole Smith

    This is point in career mode where I get frustrated because I haven’t unlocked big enough engines to launch anything worth while.

  87. David Taylor

    Watch 6:41 with autocaptions on. It turns “Cygnus OA6 Launch” into “Sickness Always Sex Launch”.

  88. Sean McDonough

    4:30 – Reminds me of my Nerv-powered upper stages and spaceplanes…

  89. Sergio Herrero

    0:53 I can’t believe that video quality was 2004… :( We have come a long way!
    1:46 This website is definitely from 2004

  90. PsychoLucario

    100% fratricide chance for the aries 1 lol
    You didn’t demonstrate this classic problem in KSP i noticed. its a really common beginner mistake of too little thrust for the payload.

  91. okankyoto

    Notably, SLS’s SRBs incorporate the Air Force’s finding in the new FTS that runs up the side. (additional trays can be seen as angled branches off the main FTS tray near the bottom) Charges are sequentially timed and additional charges are at the base so that if an abort does happen, most of the debris is blasted backwards and away from an aborting capsule. That said, this wouldn’t have been enough on Ares 1 though, due to much closer proximity to the single booster.

  92. Monothefox

    So the reason is “MOAR BOOSTER!”?

  93. Nilguiri

    1:18 I suppose calling it an Atlas 5 022 would be too obvious!

  94. ItsNotTrue

    Wouldn’t “Atlas 052” fit the naming scheme better? Regardless, the “411” will always be the coolest Atlas.

  95. Jimbodiah

    Why do kerbal mods look better than ULA animations?

  96. My videos & etc.

    7:13 and i though that this only happened in KSP.

  97. The Exoplanets Channel

    Each of your videos is a master piece

  98. lewis bagnall

    My face always lights up when I see a video of yours in my feed, Fly safe

  99. Zoomer30

    4 engine Centaur. That’s KSP engineering right there: When in doubt, add engines.

  100. K1productions

    How many times have each of us done that absurdly high angle burn with our underpowered upper stage just to keep from dipping back in the atmosphere while playing Kerbal? LOL

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