Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off from Kennedy Space Center LC-39A on STS 85. Image credit NASA

It’s no secret that rockets are incredibly complicated machines. Unlike airplanes, rockets don’t have the luxury of using wings to fly. Even the wings on the space shuttle were only used for gliding down to land on a runway. Rockets have to use sheer power to push themselves through the atmosphere against the powerful force of gravity. In order to get into orbit, a rocket must accelerate to over 17,400 mph, almost 10 times faster than a speeding bullet! Additionally, the dense atmosphere and gravity can slow a rocket down during ascent by anywhere from 2,900 to 4,000 mph meaning…


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Photo: SpaceX

The force required to propel a giant 1.3 million pound rocket into space, defying the laws of gravity is quite incredible, and an engineering feat like no other. The raw power of the 200 foot jet of fire roaring from the bottom of the vehicle is mesmerizing. And with their destination being the final frontier of outer space, rockets are the most spectacular and beautiful machines ever created.

The most common rocket engine right now is the chemical type although one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, it will be replaced by more environmentally friendly propulsion systems. Since…

Ishan Roy

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