Spaceflight Simulator Wiki

A Mars rocket is a rocket meant to go to Mars. This page lists some examples of Mars rockets and a tutorial for going to Mars.


A Mars rocket requires at least 2 stages, three or four if you are conducting a return mission.

First stage

The first stage will bring the rocket to a suborbital trajectory. High-thrust engines must be used. Boosters may be required for more TWR if the rocket is heavy.

Second stage

The second stage will get the rocket to parking orbit and perform a trans-Martian injection. A vacuum engine should be used (Valiant for smaller and lighter payloads; Frontier for more efficiency and larger and heavier payloads). This stage can also slow down the rocket into Mars orbit.

Third stage

The third stage can make it to the surface of Mars. A low-thrust engine must be used and some fuel and heat shields to land safely on Mars. Multiple parachutes must be used when descending on Mars. Landing legs may be required.

Fourth stage (optional)

The fourth stage will send the rocket back to Earth. It must have some fuel and a return capsule to land safely back on Earth. Refueling can be optional if this stage is low on fuel.

User Rocket Examples

Real-life rocket examples

A reconstruction of the SpaceX Starship, a real rocket intended for colonising Mars.

  • Ares rocket family
  • Space Launch System
  • Atlas V (unmanned)
  • SpaceX Starship
  • Proton K/D (unmanned)
  • Proton-M (unmanned)
  • Molniya-M (unmanned)
  • Soyuz-FG/Fregat (unmanned)
  • N1 (cargo/manned)
  • Atlas-Agena (unmanned)
  • Atlas-Centaur (unmanned)
  • Titan IIIE (unmanned)
  • Commercial Titan III (unmanned)
  • Delta II (unmanned)
  • Falcon Heavy (unmanned)
  • M-V (unmanned)
  • Long March 5 (unmanned)
  • PSLV (unmanned)
  • GSLV-Mk-III (unmanned)
  • H-IIA (unmanned)
  • Zenit (unmanned)

How to go to Mars

Getting to Mars can be found in this tutorial: Getting to Mars. Here are the basics of how to get to Mars below.


Before the launch, Earth and Mars must be aligned properly.

After launch, turn slowly. When the boosters run out of fuel, they must be separated. When the first stage runs out of fuel, separate it from the rocket. Turn on the second stage engine, and continue until you are in the parking orbit. Then, select Mars as a target and at the transfer window, fire the second stage engine until the trajectory hits or is above the atmosphere. Time warp until you get near the periapsis on Mars, then burn the second stage engine until you are in Mars orbit. Pick a landing spot and fire the engine until you are below 50 m/s. Fire the engine a couple of times until you reach 4.5 km; that's the point where parachutes can now be deployed. Deploy the parachute and land safely on Mars. Fire the engine before touchdown.

For rockets traveling at a high velocity and the trajectory intersecting the atmosphere, an engine burn must be conducted before entry or use heat shields for surviving the heat of reentry.


  1. It is recommended to get into Mars orbit first. Direct entry from Earth and at a hyperbolic trajectory might cause insufficient braking using the atmosphere and make your rover trailing Mars's orbit instead of driving Mars's surface.
Rocket construction
Suborbital rocketsOrbital rocketsReusable rocketsMoon rocketsMars rocketsVenus rocketsMercury rocketsJupiter rockets