There have been a lot of flown orbital rockets. All of them* are multi-stage. Most of those used interstages where staging wasn't parallel. Did all of those interstages bear the entire load of accelerating the fueled stages above them?

Which rockets, if any, use(d) the engine nozzles to partially bear the load?

* Early Atlases possibly excluded

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I know of none, but not sure how to prove it. Making a nozzle load-bearing to that extent would likely severely compromise its main function. $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2020 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ To distribute the load of the upper stage between interstage and nozzle with a proper ratio is not easy. The larger part to the interstage and a smaller part to the nozzle. If the ratio is not met, the nozzle may be overloaded and damaged or destroyed. To ensure the proper load ratio by the use of springs adds weight. An additional problem is different materials and different thermal expansion for interstage and nozzle. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jun 22, 2020 at 19:56


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