Given the problem of choosing to build and launch a small rocket to put a smallsat into orbit with either of these two configurations, what are the major tradeoffs between them?

For specific issues feel free to link to previous posts for supporting information.

  1. One 400 kN engine
  2. Eight 50 kN engines
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ There are engineering tradeoffs to analyze. But why stop at 8? Why not 400 1kn engines for example? $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 12:31
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Stack Exchange! I think this would be a difficult question to answer as currently written because "better" is not a simple concept here. There are so may tradeoffs that there's not a single, simple answer. Because there are already two votes to close the question ("Needs details or clarity: This question should include more details and clarify the problem") I'll adjust your wording to ask "What are the major tradeoffs for a launch vehicle having either one 400 kN engine or eight 50 kN engines? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 21:06
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    $\begingroup$ The greater the number of anything, the greater the probability of something going wrong. Compare the number of launch engines for the Saturn V rocket with the Soviet equivalent, the N1. There were 13 successful launches of the Saturn V, but only four catastrophically failed launches of the N1. Keeping things simple is always a better option. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 0:42
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    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? What challenges are there for more, smaller liquid fuel engines instead of one large? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2023 at 22:04


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