Payload Fairing

Illustration of InSight spacecraft with payload fairing highlighted
Atlas V-401 Launch Vehicle, Payload Fairing: The spacecraft will ride into the sky inside a protective payload fairing atop the Centaur stage.

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    The spacecraft rides into the sky inside a protective payload fairing atop the Centaur stage. The fairing is 39.4 feet (12 meters) long, with a diameter of 13.8 feet (4.2 meters) at the widest part, tapering to the top of the cone.

    The fairing jettisons shortly after ignition of the Centaur's engine, when the vehicle has climbed high enough to have escaped most of Earth's atmosphere.

    With the payload fairing on top, the Atlas V 401 ready for launch, will stand approximately 188 feet (57.3 meters) tall.

    Major elements of the Atlas V-401 rocket used for InSight are:

    Stage 1: Atlas Rocket

    Stage 2: Centaur

    Payload Fairing

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