Atlas V

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The Altas V 401 lifts off from SLC-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida carrying LRO/LCROSS.

Atlas V is a type of rocket used by the United Launch Alliance (made of two companies, Boeing and Lockheed Martin) place satellites into orbit. It is 58.3 meters tall, and 3.81 meters wide. It has flown 62 times, since its first flight on 21 August 2002. Unlike the Space Shuttle, Atlas V is only used once, with a new rocket being built for each flight.

Flights[change | change source]

So far, the Atlas V has made 62 flights. The most famous ones had New Horizons, Mars Science Laboratory (which had the Curiosity rover in it), Juno, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/LCROSS, and the Boeing X-37B on them.

Types[change | change source]

The Atlas V 551 carrying the Juno probe to Jupiter. It will reach Jupiter in June of 2016.

The Atlas V has a special way of naming the different kinds. The first number says how wide the fairing is. A 400 series Atlas V has a 4-meter wide fairing. A 500 series Atlas V has a 5-meter wide fairing. The second number says how many strap-on solid rocket boosters the rocket has. An Atlas V 501 has no strap-on boosters, but an Atlas V 421 has 2 strap-on boosters. The last number says how many engines the Centaur second stage has. All of the Atlas V rockets flown have had only 1 engine on the Centaur, but in the future other Atlas V rockets will have 2 engines on the Centaur second stage. There is also the HLV which has two of the first stage (Common Core Booster) strapped on like strap-on boosters, but it has never flown.

Description[change | change source]

The different types of Atlas V rockets.

The rocket is made of the first stage, a Common Core Booster with an RD-180 engine from Russia. Every Atlas V has this as the first stage. The second stage is called Centaur, and has one/two RL-10 engines from Aerojet Rocketdyne. On top is a 4-5 meter wide fairing covering the spacecraft during launch.