60 years ago, on May 8, 1962, Atlas-LV3C Centaur-A – designated Atlas Centaur-1 (AC-1) – lifted off from the newly-constructed Launch Complex-36A (LC-36A). AC-1 was the first flight test of the hydrogen-powered Centaur upper stage. Since the maiden flight of Centaur, the stage has flown on several different rocket families across six decades. Centaur has launched military, commercial, and science missions allowing access to every planetary body in the solar system and even beyond.
As of early May 2022, 263 flight-capable Centaur upper stages have flown and continue to operate on the Atlas V rocket. Soon new variants of the Centaur upper stage will be introduced on United Launch Alliance (ULA)’s future Vulcan-Centaur rocket.