Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique vidéo du CSG – S Martin

What are Rockets?

Rockets carry people to and from the International Space Station (ISS) and things (such as satellites) to space. A satellite is a rocket’s cargo or payload, and its size determines the rocket size for launching into space

How are rockets launched?

Rockets burn fuel to produce gas that blasts downwards causing a force that pushes the rocket in the opposite direction.

Most rockets can be launched from ground. Some are too weak and heavy to lift themselves, so they work after other rockets launch them to outer space.

Rockets parts

  1. Structural system: is the outer frame of the rocket made from strong but light-weight materials such as titanium or aluminum. The frame is also coated to protect the rocket from high or low temperatures and radiations.
  2. Payload system: is the rocket cargo depending on its mission. Long ago payloads examples were fireworks for celebrations and explosives during war. Nowadays, rockets are used to launch satellites (e.g. communications, remote sensing, weather monitoring, spying, planetary exploration), while special rockets were developed to launch people into earth orbit or to the ISS and onto the surface of the Moon.
  3. Guidance system: is responsible for directing, controlling, maneuvering and providing stability for rockets in flight. It may include very sophisticated sensors, on-board computers, radars, and communication.
  4. Propulsion system: takes up most of the size of the rocket, and responsible for thrusting the rocket. There are two main types of propulsion systems: liquid rocket engines and solid rocket engines.

Types of Rockets?

  1. Space shuttles, that carry humans to and from space.
  2. Saturn V, were the largest ad most powerful rockets built and were used to launch all the moon landings.
  3. Firework rockets, used to send fireworks during celebrations
  4. Military rockets
  5. Experimental rockets
  6. Satellite with rocket engines

Rocket launch facilities?

There are about 27 Rocket launch facilities around the world, some of which have also sent humans into space:

  1. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, USA
  2. Xichang Space Center, China
  3. Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Fun Facts

The first rocket to reach space?

The first rocket to reach space (100 kilometers) from the earth surface was the German V2, a ballistic missile used by the Nazis during World War II.

The largest and most powerful Rocket?

The largest and most powerful rocket ever built was Saturn V, a US launch vehicle used by NASA between 1967 and 1973.

The average journey time for a space shuttle to reach space from earth?

The average journey time for a space shuttle to reach space from earth is 8 minutes.

Interesting to know

Rocket launch into space and landing back on Earth (NASA)

All about Rockets, their Parts and how they launch (by Science ABC)