Lockheed Martin says the first stage of the new Atlas V booster has been delivered to Cape Canaveral in preparation for its maiden flight next May. The stage will be taken to Launch Complex 41, a former Titan IV pad refurbished by Lockheed, for pre-launch testing. The Centaur upper stage has already been delivered to the Cape. The Atlas V, developed under the US Air Force EELV programme, builds on the improvements made for the Atlas III. In addition to the NPO Energomash RD-180 first-stage engine, the Atlas V incorporates a reinforced structure and increased propellant load in the first stage. These modifications, combined with the stretched Atlas IIIB Centaur upper stage, allow Atlas V to put more than 10,000lb (4,500kg) into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Source: Flight Daily News