HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Crews have a big job on their hands at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center today. They are using large cranes to move the Centaur, a longtime fixture, to Glenn Research Center in Ohio.
There, it will be restored and put on display. Glenn managed the Shuttle Centaur program, according to Ed Stewart II, Director of Exhibits & Curation at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Marshall Space Flight Center also had a role because it was a payload and propulsion system.
Stewart said this model is a Centaur G-Prime that was modified for use on the Shuttle’s payload bay. The idea was to have deep space and Department of Defense payloads launched from Shuttle rather than an Atlas or other vehicle.
However, the Shuttle-Centaur required a lot of complex equipment and brought additional risks.
It was scheduled to fly shortly after STS-51L, the Challenger accident. NASA determined the Shuttle Centaur was too risky to fly and the program, along with the missions scheduled to fly the hardware, were cancelled.