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# Space Technology, Section-A, Module -3, Lecture-4 Class 9

## Parallel staging of Chemical Rockets

M 0(n)
n

M 0 ( i +1)
i+1
M 0 (i )

i
M 0 (1)

0 1 0

In parallel staging (as shown in the figure), several small stages (commonly
designated as stage ‘0’) are strapped onto to a central first stage. This technique is
used when a excess thrust is needed at liftoff of heavy launch vehicles. At launch, all
(central first stage and strap-ons) engines are ignited. When the propellants in the
strap-on's are exhausted, the strap-on rockets are discarded. The first stage engine
continues to burn till propellants are exhausted.

## Total propellant mass of all strap-ons = M 0P

Lift-off weight (LOW) of the entire vehicle is given by
=
M 0 M 0S + M 0P

M=
00 M 0 + M 01

where, M 01 is the mass of the entire vehicle from 1 through ‘n’ stages including

Let ‘t b1 ’ be the burn time of the stage ‘1’ and ‘t b0 ’ be the burn time of the stage ‘0’.
Then, the mass burn rate of the stage ‘1’ and strap-ons are given by
M 0P
Strap-ons: m 0 =
tb0

M 1P
Stage‘1’: m 1 = where, M 1P is the propellant mass of stage ’1’.
t b1

Let ‘ U e 0 ’ and ‘ U e1 ’ be the exhaust velocities of the stage ‘0’ and stage-1 of rocket

## respectively. Then the thrust produced by the combination is given by,

T = m 1U e1 + m 0U e 0 = m total U e 0

where, m total = m 1 + m 0 is the total mass burn rate and the average exhaust

velocity, U e 0 is given by

m 1U e1 + m 0U e 0
U e0 =
m 1 + m 0

Generally in the case of launch vehicles t b 0 < t b1 (though for the case of GSLV

## t b 0 = 160 s and t b1 = 100s ).

Now, using rocket equation for combined burning of stage ‘0’ and stage-1, i.e.
t b 0 > t > 0 , velocity increment ( ∆V0′ ) at t b 0 can be written as

 M 00 
∆V0′ = U e 0 ln 
 M 00 − M Pi − M P 0 
where M Pi is the mass of the propellant burnt out of the stage ‘1’ during t b 0 .

or M Pi = m 1t b 0

## For the time period t b1 > t > t b 0

 M − M Pi − M 0 S − M 0 P 
∆V1′ = U e1 ln 00 
 M 01 − M 1P 

M 00 - M 0S - M 0P = M 00 - M 0 = M 01

 M − M Pi 
or ∆V1′ = U e1 ln 01 
 M 01 − M 1P 

The total increment in velocity ( ∆Vn ) attained by an ‘n’ stage vehicle having

parallel staging along with stage-1 followed by serial staging sequence for the
remaining stages is obtained as:

n
∆Vrocket , n = ∆V0′ + ∆V1′ + ∑U ei ln ( µi )
i =2

Where µi is the stage mass ratio (total mass of vehicle at the start of stage firing/

## mass of vehicle at the end of stage firing).

∆Vn in terms of ratios λ, µ, ε
The following relationships help us to write the velocity increment in terms mass
ratio (µ), payload ratio (λ) and structural coefficient (ε).

## Velocity increment from parallel staging at stage-1:

M 00 M 01 + M 0
µ0 = =
M 00 − M Pi − M P 0 M 01 + M 0 S − M Pi

M 0 S + M 1S
ε0 =
M 0S + M 1S + M 0 P + M Pi

M 01 − M Pi − M 1S
λ0 = where M 1s is the structural mass of stage-1.
M 0 S + M 1S + M 0 P + M Pi

 1 + λ0 
From Rocket equation ∆V0′ = U e 0 ln (µ 0 ) = U e 0 ln 
 ε 0 + λ0 

## After strap-on ejection the ratios are given by

M 01 − M Pi
µ1 =
M 01 − M 1P

M S1
ε1 =
M S 1 + M 1P − M Pi

M 02
λ1 =
M S 1 + M 1P − M Pi

 1 + λ1 
∆V1′ = U e1 ln (µ1 ) = U e1 ln 
 ε 1 + λ1 
n n
 1 + λi 
or ∆Vrocket , n = ∆V0′ + ∆V1′ + ∑U ei ln ( µi ) = ∆V0′ + ∆V1′ + ∑U ei ln  
=i 2=i 2  ε i + λi 
Example:
Consider a two stage rocket (same as in Case I of earlier example) with two
boosters. The total weight of two serial stages is 15,000 kg and that of each
booster is 5000 kg (4000 kg propellant + 1000 kg structure). The exhaust velocity
of all the stages including the booster is 3000 m/s and the mass flow rate of
propellant from each booster and each stage is 70 kg/s. Calculate ΔV achieved
by the vehicle.
Lift off weight (LOW) = 15000 + 2 x 5000 kg
= 25000 kg ( = M 00 )

4000
t b (burn out time for the boosters) = = 57.143 S
70
 M 00 
∆V01 =Ve 0 ln  
 M 00 − M Pi − M P 0 
M Pi =×70 57.143 = 4000 kg
M Po= 2 × 4000 kg
 25000 
∆V01 =3000 ln  
 25000 − 4000 − 2 × 4000 
= 1961.78 m / s
M P1 = ?

For stage 1
M S1 + M P1 = 15000 – 3783 (= M 01 – M 02 )

M S1 = 2384.36 kg

∴ M P1 = 8742.64 kg

 M − M Pi 
∆V11 = Ve1 ln  o1 
 M 01 − M P1 
 15000 − 4000 
= 3000 ln  
15000 − 8742.64 
= 1692.41 m / s
∆V1 = ∆V01 + ∆V11
= 3654.2 m / s
∆Vrocket , 2 = ∆V1 + ∆V2

## ∆Vrocket ,2 = 6280.6 m/s

Note that by adding boosters the ∆Vrocket ,2 has increased by little more than 1km/s

## compared to the two stage rocket without booster.

Now consider the case where all the propellant and all the structure were to be
used for an ideal two stage rocket.

M 01 = 25000 kg M L = 1000 kg

M 02 = M 01 M L = 5000 kg
MS 2 ×1000 + 3000
∈= = = 0.208
MS +MP (2 × 1000 + 3000) + (11000 + 2 × 4000 )
M 02 5000
λ= = = 0.25
M 01 − M 02 20000 − 5000
1 + λ 
∆Vrocket , 2 = 2 U e ln  
ε + λ 
 1.25 
= 2 × 3000 ln 
 0.458 
= 6020 m / s

Note that the two stage gives nearly same ∆V as the two stage rocket with two
boosters. However, the thrust develop at the beginning of ascent by the two
vehicles differ.
T2 stage +=
booster 3=
 e 630 KN
mU

T2 stage=
ideal =
 e 210 KN
mU

where m = 70 kg/s
Note that the ideal two stage vehicle will not be able to lift off as the weight of
vehicle itself at the beginning is 250 KN.

So, for a given initial rocket mass parallel staging is done to increase the total
thrust of the launch vehicle at the beginning of launch and does not contribute
significantly to ∆V improvement of the vehicle. However, an improved version of
a launch vehicle is often made by adding powerful boosters. This is primarily
driven by economy and reliability of existing technology compared to developing
new larger first stage.

1. Space Flight Dynamics (2nd Edition) by William E Wiesel, Chapter #7 (Section
7.4 – 7.5)