All About Rockets

All About Rockets


A rocket is required to launch anything and anyone into space.

Rockets are the gadgets that produce the push, or force required to move an object forward.

Rockets are used to launch satellites and space shuttles into space.

From Earth, we send astronauts into space on space rockets. Attached to some rockets are space shuttles, which break from the rocket in space. The astronauts are inside the orbiter, which is one of the main parts of the space shuttle. The orbiter then makes the final trip to it’s intended destination.

The space shuttle orbiter is the size of a small jet airliner

The materials used in rockets and their cargo needs to be light, because a lighter rocket needs less fuel to launch it, which makes it less costly. The materials must also be strong to withstand the thrust at the launch.

The rocket must provide the power to lift itself off the ground, and in a short space of time use its power to gain the speed required to carry it away from gravity’s pull and into Space.

At a rockets launch, it’s burning fuel produces hot gases that are forced through an exhaust nozzle at the bottom of the rocket. This provides the force to lift itself off the ground.

Although the space rocket was developed in the early 20th century, the earliest rockets were used by the Chinese about a thousand years ago. They were powered with gunpowder and once lit, an explosive burst propelled the rocket forward. These small arrow rockets were used as weapons, and they resembled a firework.

A typical rocket can travel at 22,000 miles per hour and can produce more than a million pound of thrust.

In the 1880’s, rocket pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Soviet, started to work on the theory of rocket space flight. He worked out how fast a rocket needed to go and how much fuel it would require. He proposed using liquid fuel.

The first ever liquid-fuel rocket was launched in 1926, by American Robert Goddard. The flight lasted two and a half seconds and the rocket reached an altitude of 12.5 meters (41 feet).

The first mass produced long range rocket, developed in Germany in the 1930’s, was called the V-2. It’s first launch was in 1942, and was used as a weapon against allied cities during World War II. Over 4000 V-2 rockets were fired at Britain alone in the last year of WW II.

After WW II, the V-2 and subsequent rockets for space travel were developed by an American team, headed by Wernher Von Braun.

The first rocket to actually launch something into space was a R-7 ICBM rocket in 1957. It launched the first ever satellite, Sputnik into space.

On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space. His rocket called Vostok 1, was launched by the Soviet Union.

Rockets are also used to blast space shuttles into space.

Rockets use enormous parachutes to slow their descent when they come back down to Earth.

The New Horizons, launched on January 19, 2006, from Cape Canaveral, broke the speed record for the fastest rocket launch at a speed of 36,000 miles per hour.

The Ariane rocket is the launch vehicle of the European Space Agency (ESA). The agency consists of 22  European countries, which fund and develop satellites and experiments for space. The Ariane rocket is a family of five with the sixth now in production.

One the most famous rockets was the massive Saturn 5, with the launch of Apollo 11, on July 16, 1969. Four days later on July 20th, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the Moon. The rest is history.

Typically, two rockets a week are launched into Space from somewhere in the world.