I'm being told in this answer and in this comment that the fourth stage of the Farside rocketoon lies in the center of the four "cores" of the third stage.

See this answer for several pictures of Farside.

When the third stage is finished (or nearly so), the fourth stage is then ignited, and it literally shoots out of the third stage in which it is embedded.

Thus my use of the word "parallel stages". They are oriented in parallel but fired in series as separate stages.

Question: How common are "parallel stages" in a launch vehicle? What are some other examples for launch vehicles that reach space, or is this the only one?

note: It doesn't have to be orbital, another sounding rocket example would be fine.

Farside rockoon Farside rockoon

Images from this answer, click for full size or view there.

  • $\begingroup$ Is the desired answer supposed to be a number, or a list of examples? $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 14:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon since I don't know how common this technique is, it doesn't make sense for me to pre-specify. It could have been never, or it could have been all the time during some era, I didn't know, so I wrote the question this way. For this specific situation, occasionally two people will each be able to think of only one example, and so there could be more than one answer. If there were many, someone might propose a Wiki, but in this case the existing answer might be the only other example. Let's wait and see what shows up. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Some of the OTRAG configurations used this $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


A fairly famous such vehicle was the Jupiter C, the USA's first successful orbital launch vehicle. You can see from this diagram how the third stage nested inside the second stage and the fourth stage nested inside the third stage.

enter image description here



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