Stage 1: Atlas V Rocket


    Stage I atlas rocket is the engine with propulsive energy for ascent.

    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.

    • Raising the Atlas V Rocket
    • Atlas V Stands Tall
    • Mars Science Laboratory Atop Its Atlas V

    The major elements of the Atlas V-541 rocket that were used for the Mars Science Laboratory mission are:

    Stage 1: Atlas V Rocket

    Solid Rocket Motors

    Stage 2: Centaur

    Payload Fairing