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Rocket Assisted Take-Off
|Vehicles that use rockets to lift themselves, either exclusively or in combination with other means, are said to be RATO. 1950s' jet engines were not very powerful, and so a number of countries attached reusable rocket engines (an older and more mature technology at that time - think about it!) to aircraft to help them take off with heavy payloads and/or from high altitude airfields. RATO aircraft were operational in several national Air Forces, and the rocket engines they used were reported to have reached 60 uses between overhauls. A RATO "Comet" airliner was even certificated for passenger carrying in Britain in 1952! So using reusable rocket engines for passenger carrying isn't even new! (cf Grimston)|