# 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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### Structural Mass Fraction

In spacecraft design, when talking about the structural mass fractions, the NASA website gives the following equation: Source: https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/beginners-guide-to-aeronautics/mass-ratios/ ...
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### How is hot staging of Starship expected to provide such a large (10%) increase in total mass to LEO?

there's a meaningful payload to orbit advantage with hot staging that is conservatively about a 10% increase (Elon Musk during Twitter Spaces interview on June 24th, 2023, timestamp 37:13) In a line ...
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### Non-parallel Spaceplane staging?

The NZ/Netherlands aerospace company Dawn Aerospace is developing it's research scale vehicle, the Mk II: https://www.dawnaerospace.com/spacelaunch They haven't detailed their staging system for the ...
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### Unknown Kistler Spacecraft

I've just watched the Hazegrayart "Kistler reusable spacecraft - a spacex competitor", and I have... a few questions. Like: What was the spacecraft called? How far did the project get? Did ...
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### Papers/studies about shedding aerodynamic lifting surfaces with booster

(This post has been updated to fulfil community guidelines on specificity) Here's my relevant scenario: A lifting-body Orbital Vehicle, and a turboramjet booster that (the most important part) ...
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### How do different stages attach to each other?

I started learning about rockets recently, and while searching for information, I found some ways that different stages separate, but I wandered if it was possible that they could reattach to a ...
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### Developing intuition about altitude and velocity in multi stage rockets

I just started learning some basics of rocketry and am struggling to understand the outcomes of a simulator I’m programming. All other things being equal, when I attempt to simulate the altitude over ...
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### Could a third stage be added to Starship?

SpaceX has predicted that Starship will be able to lift up to 150 tons to LEO. Could some of the payload that it will carry have a third stage? If so could that save another flight of Starship since ...
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### Future Plasma-Scramjet engines: If/how they could be used in the launching of spacecraft

Recently I took a look at this paper: “Electrically Driven Supersonic Combustion”, Energies 2018, 11, 1733; doi:10.3390/en11071733 https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/11/7/1733 It made me think about ...
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### Has asparagus staging (fuel crossfeed) ever been studied by a space agency?

There are two known examples of fuel crossfeed: The Space Shuttle and the Atlas. The Space Shuttle had fuel lines running from the ET to the main engines. Meanwhile, the Atlas fed fuel from a main ...
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### Why aren't ejectable engine blocks in use today?

Related to my previous question regarding expending the RS-25s. Why aren't engine blocks, especially those expensive RS-25s on the SLS, made ejectable from the fuel tank assembly and parachute to be ...
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### Why do rockets have multiple stages?

I guess, almost all the rockets have multiple stages. But, I was wondering, why do they have multiple stages? Couldn't they have just 1 stage? With more stages, they would require more engines (...
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### Study of selection higher stages for a multistage rocket

Will it be correct to say that the thrust produced by the first stage is the ultimate limiting factor for a rocket's ability? The logic behind this thought is like this: Higher quantity of its ...
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### How is it provided for that the uppermost stage doesn't orbit with the capsule/satellite together?

After a spacecraft reaches orbit and jettisons its last stage, that stage would be in the same orbit too. What are methods to avoid this, or isn't it cared about? In case of the Space Shuttle, the ...
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### About optimal staging and structure fractions

I have recently came across an assignment where I have to do optimal staging of rockets using Lagrange multipliers. I am suppose to optimize the mass of each stage of a well-known rocket(I chose ...
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### Clustering of liquid fueled rocket engines

Which rocket first used clustering of liquid fueled rocket engines on their first stage?
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### Have any stages of rocket killed aquatic animals?

This question may seem off-topic but I am curious.Those rockets that aren't reusable let their stages fall and splash down on the ocean. Is there any news reported that they have killed some aquatic ...
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### Efficiency of rocket stages and converging/diverging nozzle

It is a fact (to the best of my knowledge) that for optimum thrust from a rocket engine, one of the most important factor is the design of its converging/diverging Nozzle - the diverging cone to be ...
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### When does Falcon 9 second stage separate?

For a regular LEO payload, when does the second stage separate? Usually the first stage separate 2:30 min after launch (and it takes 6 minutes to come back to Earth) so how about the second one? ...
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### Rocket staging by use of strap on Boosters

Will it be advantageous to have multiple (say-3) stages of a rocket, arranged in a "strap-on" type SRBs' assembly, geometrically well distributed around the circumference w.r.t. their ...
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### Why aren't there more 1.5 stage rockets?

Why aren't 1.5 stage rockets, like the SM-65 Atlas, used as small sat launchers? It seems to me like that would be simple as you don't need as many tanks and the plumbing to connect the to the engines ...
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### How many stages were used to put Iran's satellite NOUR 01 (45529) into its orbit?

Fox News' Iran-launched military satellite entered Earth's orbit, US Space Command announces says: “Iran’s first military satellite, Noor, was launched this morning from central Iran in two stages. ...
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### Continuous staging? [closed]

In industrial chemistry it's well known (Armagnac vs. Cognac) that continuous processes are more efficient than batch processes. In-game microtransactions have competed so favorably with just ...
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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 ...
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### Why aren’t rocket stages modular and interchangeable?

Being an avid player of Kerbal Space Program, it is intensely frustrating to return to the real world and have to remind myself that rocket stages can’t generally be swapped out between rockets (...
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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 ...
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### How many stages needed for a launch ? How to plan a launch

I am looking to find out how many stages are needed to reach a certain orbit. I came across equations to compute the height reached by a stage over a certain time; however, I couldn't find material on ...
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### 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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### 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 ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why do rockets not glide back?

After stage separation, why do the rockets not glide back to Earth with wings? Is retro propulsion a better idea than gliding rockets back to 'Earth'? Take Energia-II as an example: Source: buran.ru ...
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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 ...
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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: ...
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### What is the most number of stages, including fractional stages?

Falcon 9 clearly has two stages, but the smaller two-stage Electron has a "kick-stage" so some might call that 2.5. The question Quantitative benefits of Atlas II's engine-dropping or 1.5 staging? and ...
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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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### 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 ...
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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 ...
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### What would be necessary in order for us to achieve a single stage to orbit, reusable rocket?

I have read articles and seen videos explaining why an SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) rocket* is not possible. But I was wondering... What would be required to achieve this? Answers can be literally ...
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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 "...
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### What do we mean by rocket stages?

I'am new in the field of rocketing and space,i wanted to know what do we do by adding different stages to a rocket and it's used for what, and if we add a second stage we can put another booster on it ...
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### 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 ...
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### 1/st Stage slow down after MECO and separation for F9's

Once the Falcon 9 Full Thrust 1st Stage reaches "MECO" - main engine cut off - and separates from the 2nd Stage how much velocity does it lose? Specifically at "MECO" its velocity is approx. 5,900 km/...
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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 ...
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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?
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### Why won't Falcon Heavy launch with 100% thrust?

The crossfeed system is not yet realized for Falcon Heavy. Instead, the central booster will throttle down after liftoff and resume "full thrust after side boosters separate". Why would one do that ...
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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 ...
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### How can I obtain the necessary thrusts / mass flow rates to achieve a given burnout velocity for an optimally staged rocket?

I understand how to use lagrange multipliers to obtain the optimal stage masses given the payload mass, the burnout velocity, the structural ratios of each stage and the specific impulses of each ...
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