Atlas V Launch Vehicle, Stage 1 Rocket .jpg
The Stage 1 Atlas V Rocket has fuel and oxygen tanks that feed an engine for the ascent; powers spacecraft into Earth orbit.
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Stage 1: Atlas V Rocket

Centerpiece of the first stage is the common core booster, 106.5 feet (32.46 meters) in length and 12.5 feet (3.81 meters) in diameter. It has a throttleable, RD-180 engine from a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, West Palm Beach, Fla., and NPO Energomash, Moscow. Thermally stable kerosene fuel (type RP-1) and liquid oxygen is loaded shortly before launch into cylindrical fuel tanks that make up about half of the total height of the vehicle. The common core booster can provide thrust of up to about 850,000 pounds (3.8 million newtons) at full throttle.

Atlas V-541 Examples from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission


The major elements of the Atlas V-541 rocket
that will be used for the Mars 2020 mission are: