RATO launch of MACE A
The Rocket Assisted Take Off Booster, commonly called a “RATO bottle,” was a solid-fueled rocket motor that had the sole purpose of boosting a Mace missile from a zero-length launcher so that the Mace’s internal jet engine could sustain flight. The RATO bottle, manufactured by Thiokol, was attached under the vehicle’s tail (below left).
The RATO could produce a thrust of 100,000 pounds and propel the Mace up to flying speed in under 3 seconds. At burnout, the RATO fell away from the missile since it was attached at three open “Y” shaped points that maintained contact with the missile only while the burning RATO bottle exerted pressure on those points.