A rocket launch vehicle made up of several rocket stages (often three) joined end to end. The bottom, or first, stage fires first, boosting the vehicle to high speed, then it falls away. The second stage fires, thrusting the now lighter vehicle even faster. The remaining stages fire and fall away in turn, ending with the upper stage, boosting the vehicle's payload (cargo) to an orbital speed that can reach 28 000 kph.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.