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How big are the boosters on an Atlas V?
The Atlas V booster is 12.5 ft in diameter and 106.5 ft in length. The booster’s tanks are structurally rigid and constructed of isogrid aluminum barrels, spun-formed aluminum domes, and intertank skirts. Atlas booster propulsion is provided by the RD-180 engine system (a single engine with two thrust chambers). The RD-180 burns RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1 or highly purifi ed kerosene) and liquid oxygen, and delivers 860,200 lb of thrust at sea level. The Atlas V booster is controlled by the Centaur avionics system, which provides guidance, fl ight control, and vehicle sequencing functions during the booster and Centaur phases of fl ight.