Questions tagged [stages]

Rather than carry empty weight all the way to orbit, rockets usually use a stage system. Stages can take many forms and have over the years.

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For a typical Shuttle mission, how much solid fuel is leftover at SRB separation?

If I understand correctly, solid booster rockets never expend literally all their fuel before jetissoning, because the burn rate slows way down in the end and it would take too long to spend it all, ...
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26 votes
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Why did the Saturn V stage fairing appear to burn after separation?

This video shows the stage separation of the 1st stage of Apollo 4 (incorrectly identified as Apollo 11) followed by the jettisoning of the ring-shaped fairing between the two stages. The moment the ...
Philipp's user avatar
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14 votes
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Is it possible for the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) to hit the Space Shuttle after jettison?

We all know that the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) were the pair of large solid rockets used by the United States' NASA Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of its powered flight. ...
zundi's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
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Using lower stage as reaction mass

As I was thinking about the process of stage separation, I realized the empty stage dropped, often many tons, is usually separated quite gently, moving at sluggish couple of m/s or less away from the ...
SF.'s user avatar
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What types of decoupling mechanisms to separate spacecraft are used in spaceflight?

For a project I have to find select a decoupling mechanism for a spacecraft. I have searched google but I can't find any documentation on decoupling mechanisms. I need to know what types of decoupling ...
Michel Touw's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
6k views

When did the concept of "stages" enter rocketry?

The staged rocket design is common now, but at some point in the history of rocket design it must have been revolutionary. When was the staged design introduced? Was it quickly accepted or did it ...
Dan Sorensen's user avatar
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9 votes
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Why does PSLV use four stages to get to LEO, and why do they alternate solid, liquid, solid, liquid?

Is there a simple way to explain why ISRO's PSLV launch vehicle uses four stages to get to LEO, and why they alternate as follows: ...
uhoh's user avatar
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15 votes
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Highest stage counts in actual launchers?

I was reading about the Minotaur V that Orbital Sciences is readying for launch from Wallops Island, VA before 2014. (I really do not trust launch dates). It is a Minotaur IV+ with a fifth stage. ...
geoffc's user avatar
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13 votes
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How big would a manned ascent stage for Mars need to be?

For a manned mission to Mars that isn't a one-way trip, we'll need an ascent stage that can reach orbit from Mars' surface. How big would this need to be to transport e.g. 3 astronauts to orbit? We've ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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How is rocket engine cutoff controlled?

In a typical, modern satellite launch, what triggers the cutoff of the orbital insertion stage's rocket engines? I can think of three basic possibilities: Compute how much fuel you need for the ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
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3 answers
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A cryo tank within another cryo tank...is it a sound engineering concept?

Here's the idea: A large spherical LH2 tank is placed inside a spherical LOX tank. The reason I thought of this is so the inner tank doesn't need to be insulated. It doesn't need to be a double-...
DrZ214's user avatar
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Why is the Merlin 1D Vacuum nozzle bigger than the Merlin 1D nozzle?

I know that the Merlin 1D is used in the Falcon first stage, and the Merlin 1D Vacuum in the second stage, but I can't find any information as to why the nozzle has to be bigger in vacuum. I guess ...
user21731's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
7k views

Is Asparagus Staging Possible

Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this question, as its very much hypothetical. In the computer game Kerbal Space Program , there are 3 main Staging Options that are used Conventional Staging ...
Blade Wraith's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
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Highest stage count that are used one right after the other?

Two questions inspired this question: Highest stage counts in actual launchers? Answer: Saturn V six stages to the Moon Does a high staging number have diminishing returns? Is there a way to address ...
uhoh's user avatar
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How does a launch vehicle control its trajectory during the first stage?

It appears during most launches that the only engines working are the main first stage engines. It was my understanding that these engines are fixed in place and cannot turn the rocket, but I must be ...
Stu's user avatar
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4 votes
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Would there be any advantages for a rocket with two "half stages"?

A "half stage" is a rocket stage which separates with its engines, but not fuel tanks. Common examples include Atlas (1.5 stages), Atlas-Agena (2.5 stages), and Atlas-Centaur (2.5 stages). On paper, ...
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Could rockets launched from the ground use wings in the stages?

Could a slower or smaller rocket take advantage of lift if all the stages had wings? Could the stages reduce splashdown impact forces by using a spinning seedpod-like design (as shown in the image ...
Muze's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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How often did launch vehicles have a "Stage 0", and what does it mean exactly?

While trying to do some reading for the question Need help understanding staging shown in infographic of Titan launch of Hexagon satellites I ran across the Wikipedia article for Titan III. This ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Could a rocket launch off water horizontally in stages us using water and air for lift to save fuel? [duplicate]

A term I have heard is the "water was like class". Meaning that the water had 0 waves. Could a rocket be modified to take off a horizontal surface starting slowly increasing throttle on each stage? ...
Muze's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
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Why not keep the engine for multi-stage rockets?

Rocket engines are a huge weight in a multi-stage rocket. and they are stacked like so: Fairing/Payload Fuel Engine -- Seperator -- Fuel Engine and so on, which means multiple engines. Is there ...
mateos's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
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Which currently operational orbital launch vehicle achieves highest system-specific impulse?

I'm primarily looking for comparison of currently operational orbital launch vehicles by system-specific impulse, or Issp, and to get a fair impression of achievable rocket propellant performance and ...
TildalWave's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
777 views

Does a high staging number have diminishing returns? Is there a way to address that mathematically?

I was reading this question: Help me understand what Farside, a ten "stage" rockoon looked like? How was it configured? Comments link to Highest stage counts in actual launchers? but here ...
Magic Octopus Urn's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
746 views

SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable first stage propellant for return

How much propellant is required to return the Falcon 9 Reusable's first stage after separation?
Erik's user avatar
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What is used to connect the side boosters to the first stage?

For example, on the Falcon Heavy, the two side cores detached from the first stage but how are they attached and what mechanism is used to detach them?
Elliot Padfield's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
906 views

What was the first large rocket to use APCP solid fuel?

I'm surprised wikipedia doesn't have a history section for its APCP article. If I'm not mistaken, early solid rockets used something other than APCP, and really really early solid rockets used black ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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6 votes
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Did the Saturn V interstage ring burn up in the atmosphere?

In Saturn V launch footage, the interstage ring falls away shortly after stage I separation, briefly catching fire from the stage II exhaust. Does this ring continue to drop uncontrolled and impact ...
Dan Sorensen's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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How rare is it in the 21st century to use five stages to get to LEO, especially for a low-mass payload?

@BobJacobsen's comment about the MX Missile (and protests) in the 1980's got me clicking in Wikipedia, which led me to the Minotaur IV launches, the most recent of which seems to be ORS-5 or "...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
560 views

Could the Atlas-B (SM-65B) have made it to orbit without jettisoning the first-stage engines?

Related to this question about single-stage-to-orbit vehicles, the Atlas-B launch vehicle seems to have been the closest to a true SSTO solution. Although it did jettison booster engines, the vehicle ...
Brian Lynch's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is the space shuttle the only launcher that jettisson tank without any engines in its staging process?

All launcher I know jettison stages composed of both tank and engines. I do understand that: the jettison process is useful to get rid of dead weight jettison engines allows the use of more suited ...
Manu H's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
235 views

What does the core stage of a launch vehicle mean?

I have seen the use of the term 'core stage' in the context of space launch vehicles. I am not able to clearly understand what it exactly means? I have learnt about launch vehicles having multiple ...
ModCon's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
302 views

Super Capacitor Stages

Could this super capacitor be up scaled to be of use in the lower stages of a rocket? Here is the only information I found online on this? Related: Could rockets ...
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