On May 8, 1962, NASA’s new rocket, the Centaur, blasted off on its first test flight.
Centaur had an upper stage specially designed to launch heavier payloads into orbit. This device for its first launch, on the amplifier Atlas missile flew
The flight from Cape Canaveral went well at first. 54 seconds later, the rocket suddenly exploded. Both rockets disintegrated at an altitude of nearly 9,000 meters.
Investigations revealed that the insulating panels around the liquid hydrogen fuel tank could not withstand the pressure during the flight, so the tank ruptured.
It was the first launch of a rocket that used liquid hydrogen in its propulsion system. NASA redesigned Centaur and made its first successful test flight the following year.