Chapter 17. Multistage Rockets

Staging is a common concept in rocketry. Using one powerful motor to launch a large rocket has mass penalties: the rocket tube must be thick enough (and therefore heavy enough) to withstand the thrust of the large motor. By stacking multiple rockets on top of each other in stages, you can pack more power into a thinner (and lighter) tube.

The concept of staging is very simple: A multi-stage rocket is launched using only the motor in the first stage. When the first motor burns out, the rocket drops the weight of the entire first stage—motor, fins, and tube - leaving a smaller rocket to continue the journey. The smaller rocket fires, taking advantage of the speed and altitude provided by the first stage to fly higher ...

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