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December 19, 2018

#2087: Rocket Launch

Rocket Launch

[The major stages of a rocket launch are shown, with the rocket trajectory indicated by dotted lines. Each stage is annotated with a description and an arrow. A title above the image reads ‘Outline of a typical rocket launch’.]

[A rocket with two boosters is shown at the bottom left hand corner of the image taking off from a launch pad on the ground, surrounded by clouds of smoke.]


[The rocket ascends vertically]

Max-Q: Peak aerodynamic stress

[Separation of the two external booster rockets is shown, with the main rocket continuing to ascend vertically with a slight rightward tilt and the two boosters curving off to the right.]

Booster separation

[The main rocket stage starts to curve over to the right.]

Max-CB: Highest chance of collision with care bears

[Separation of the second rocket stage. Main rocket heads right, whilst second booster stage curves downward to meet trajectory of first booster stages.]

Main stage separation

[Main rocket continues towards the right.]

GPS silenced so it will stop saying “make a U-turn”

[First and second stage booster rocket trajectories meet and become a single trajectory heading upwards and right.]


[Trajectory of main rocket wobbles slightly.]

Pilot panics, copilot takes command after struggle

[Booster stage rockets continue to head upwards and right towards the main rocket trajectory.]

Pursuit phase

[Main rocket and booster stage trajectories meet and cross three times.]

Inter-stage dogfight

[The trajectory for one of the stages ends in an explosion.]

[The remaining trajectory, indicated with dashed-lines and question marks, continues towards the right and off the edge of the page.]

Winner proceeds to space