I am looking on how to find out how many stages are needed to reach a certain orbit. I come across equations to compute the height reach by a stage of a certain time. On the other hand I don't find material on how to plan a launch, if I choose an orbit, how long should each stage be and how many would there be to reach this orbit ? I would like to develop a model being able to launch a rocket at different orbits. Thus during the launch I'd have accelerations computed for x,y and angular, and an integrator to find velocity and position state vectors.

Thanks in advance for any reference recommendations

  • $\begingroup$ Take a look at some of the existing launch vehicles to get an idea of what the scope of the possible are. $\endgroup$ – zeta-band Jun 13 '19 at 16:53

The number of stages required to reach a given orbit varies with the design of the stages and the specifics of the payload.

For liquid rocket engine stages, it's most typical to see two stages to low Earth orbit, and either two or three to geosynchronous orbit.

Solid rockets have a lower specific impulse (a measure of fuel efficiency) so launchers using solids often need three or even four stages.

The answers to this question describe some implementations of orbital launch simulations, which may be helpful for you.

  • $\begingroup$ I have seen this stack topic but was hoping on finding a scientific article going through coast time, boost time, spacing between boosts, required thrust force, etc And from this understanding why choosing a certain number of stages maybe ? $\endgroup$ – Emma Vande Wouwer Jun 15 '19 at 8:15

Single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO). Current and previous SSTO projects include the Japanese Kankoh-maru project, the Skylon, ARCA Haas 2C, and the Indian Avatar spaceplane. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-stage-to-orbit

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ One important sentence from the wikipedia article you linked: "No Earth-launched SSTO launch vehicles have ever been constructed." So SSTO from Earth is theory only. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jun 13 '19 at 20:33

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