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This came up for me in the context of translating something into German. Everybody throws around terms like "strap-on boosters", although they aren't actually held on by straps. It's not even meant ironically or dismissively, it's just the language that is used. And to translate that into another language by looking up the term "strap-on" in the dictionary would be incorrect, unless the typical phrase of the target language ALSO creates a picture of cinching up a buckle. So I scratched my head and wondered how they say it in Germany and other countries, and why the English-speaking world uses the term that it does.

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    $\begingroup$ Related: do strap on boosters use actual straps? $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove May 18 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ also see When was the first strap-on booster used in spaceflight? (Ngram analysis of questionable utility) with some good historical answers. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 18 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ I've never heard boosters distinguished that way in German. Only between solids and liquids. For what it's worth, "booster" in German is "Booster", and I don't see anything particularly wrong with "Strap-On Booster" as a technical term, to be honest. $\endgroup$ – Jörg W Mittag May 18 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Greg: For that matter, it's often used with that meaning even in English. $\endgroup$ – Sean May 19 at 0:45
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    $\begingroup$ As a native german, I'd either just use "booster" or alternatively "side booster" or "strap-on booster", depending on context. $\endgroup$ – Polygnome May 19 at 8:41
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These boosters are called “strap-on” because there is little structure besides the separation mechanism holding them on, and the rocket is still a viable launch vehicle without them. In a few designs, like the Atlas V, the number of boosters can be customized per-mission. Also, in some cases the booster design is shared between launchers like the Shuttle and the SLS. Instead of straps, these boosters usually use either explosive bolts or hydraulic separators. The “strap-on” term likely came from slang from the engineers designing the boosters, saying that “for heavy launches, we would strap on some boosters”.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Space! Nice first answer. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon May 19 at 1:33
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    $\begingroup$ Although perhaps the most familiar use of strap-on boosters was the Space Shuttle, and that wasn't a viable launch vehicle without them. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf May 19 at 6:03
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For French and Ariane 5

Several names are used.

EAP is the most common one « Étage d'Acceleration à Poudre » which could be roughly translated to « acceleration powder stage»

An other more generic term used is « propulseur d’appoint » which translate to « complementary propulsion device »

For Japanese and H-IIA

Take this with a grain of salt my Japanese isn't very good

In this case they have 2 different kind of solid fuel ½ stage: SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) and SSB (solid strap-on booster). Both can be used or mixed together !

The English acronyms are commonly used.

A more generic term is also used: 固体ロケット ブースタ. This reads kotairoketto būsuta.

Kotai meaning solid body, roketto būsuta being a transliteration of rocket booster.

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  • $\begingroup$ The EAP name is specific to Ariane 5, the Ariane 4 used PAP (propulseurs d'appoint à poudre). $\endgroup$ – Hobbes May 23 at 6:58
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Strap on Boosters are called so, as mentioned because they are strapped onto an already complete vehicle. I think its more on the usage of something being strapped onto something else. The term is literal for fastening something with straps but in common terminology became synonymous with adding something on, like gun straps or like strapping on luggage on cars.

The tandem stage boosters are usually called strap on as they provide an extra ooomph(additional thrust) to the rocket's core booster as typically is needed for a rocket to go for heavier payloads than its designed for or farther into space.

As already mentioned, perhaps it came to be as people just felt that these boosters were being strapped onto an existing rocket. R-7 which has provided legacy for the Soyuz that is still operational and while Soyuz always has the boosters, are alwasy jettisoned first but probably cannot be called strap on boosters.

It could also be an american thing, with others using the term solid rocket boosters for the said booster staged. You can see them being more literal with rocket such as titan which had boosters strapped on as it went from a serial staged vehicle(Titan-1) to include 2 stage 0 solid rocket motors(Titan -3). PSLV and Ariane families have also grown similarly.

Most likely there is no translation of strap on boosters, but just that its an american thing to be said versus the rest of the world.

There are countries that use celsius and then there is the country that landed men on the moon.

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