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CATO stands for "Catastrophe At Take-Off" or just "catastrophe." CATO is used to describe an accident which destroys or seriously damages a rocket - especially accidents caused by motor failures at or near ignition.

In 1992, Estes released a rocket called "CATO" (#2071). Designed by Timothy Van Milligan, the rocket consisted of several pieces that were held together with friction fitted retaining rings during the flight of the rocket. At ejection, an internal piston pushed off the retaining rings causing the rocket to come apart. The rocket was recovered in several pieces each with its own small streamer or parachute.


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