Two questions inspired this question:
- Highest stage counts in actual launchers? Answer: Saturn V six stages to the Moon
- Does a high staging number have diminishing returns? Is there a way to address that mathematically?
Here I'm asking for the highest stage count used one right after the other. Unlike the stack that got to the Moon, each stage should ignite quickly after the previous stage.
- This then excludes things like the Saturn V and other stacks with booster stages that are ignited hours or days later.
- Historical rockets and suborbital sounding rockets are fine, as long as it makes it to space (crosses the line whose name shall not be spoken).