Rocket Staging Calculator

This calculator estimates the velocity of rocket stages. The goal of the activity is to arrange the mass of the stages and their rocket engine impulse values to get the maximum final stage (stage 4) velocity. This simple rocket model assumes the rocket is in empty space, unaffected by external forces. The only way the rocket can propel itself is by ejecting part of its mass in the opposite direction.The stages and payload are identified as follows:

NASA
Stage 1
S1
Stage 2
S2
Stage 3
S3
Stage 4
S4
Payload
PL
NASA

Several constraints can be set to research interesting performance studies on the rocket staging system. For each trial, you will normally keep the total rocket mass the same:

CASE 1: Fixed Impulse
Set the impulse for each stage at the same value. Vary the masses of the stages to see what sequence of stages gives a maximum final velocity to a payload.
CASE 2: Proportional Impulse
Set the impulse per stage at 10 times the mass of the stage. Vary the masses of the stages to see what staging strategy gives a maximum final velocity to a payload.
CASE 3: Limited Total Impulse
Set the total impulse for all stages (IS1 +IS2 +IS3 +IS4) at a value. Vary the masses and impulses of the stages to see what staging strategy gives a maximum final velocity to a payload.
Discuss which of these cases is more realistic for actual rocket systems.

Payload Mass: Kg
Stage
#
Stage
Mass
(Kilograms)
Stage
Impulse
(Newtonxsec)
Payload
Velocity
(meter/sec)
S1
S2
S3
S4
Starting Rocket Mass: Kg