How Does A Rocket Work?
Here is a short film all about rockets. From their conception, to rockets' uses during the Second World War, to their role in today's society. For those who want to know everything they can about rockets, this is the video for you!
Rockets have been around for over 2000 years. The Chinese used them first as fireworks in ceremonies.
But it was an American, Robert Goddard who in 1926 first experimented with true liquid fueled Rockets.
During the Second World War, Nazi Germany developed the first real modern day rocket, the V2 vengeance rocket.
Now rockets are launched into space with hardly a notice. But how do they work?
Apart from having apples fall on his head, Sir Isaac Newton told us in his third law of physics of 1687 that: ‘for every force, there is an equal and opposite force'.
What does that mean?
Basically, If you throw something out backwards then the force needed, pushes in the opposite direction with equal force.
Blow a balloon up and then let it go and it flies around the room. Rockets work in the same way.
Modern rockets use mainly two forms of fuel. Solid fuel rockets. Or Liquid fuelled rockets.
As was the case in the largest rocket ever built.
In late 1960's and early 70's NASA developed the Saturn 5 rocket that took men to the Moon.
This was built in 3 stages, each stage containing its own fuel and engines.
A rocket engine looks more like a large plumbing project with pipes, valves, nozzles and pumps.
In liquid fueled rockets, a mixture of pure liquid oxygen is mixed with a fuel, usually hydrogen gas or kerosene, in a combustion chamber.
The gases are super cooled liquid to conserve space on board.
The fuels mix together in a combustion chamber and are ignited with a plasma lance.
The sudden expansion of the gases rushes out into the dome chamber synonymous with rocket engines.
The heat and thrust produced by this explosive mix firing out into the domed shaped engine causes tremendous upward thrust.
And this thrust pushes the rocket forward.
The rocket gathers speed.
The fuel continues to burn and expand outward from the engines pushing the rocket on.
When the fuel in that stage of the rocket is exhausted, it is jettisoned and another, smaller stage takes over.
This works exactly the same but now pushes the rocket even faster and higher.
After only a few moments that too is jettisoned and a final stage takes over.
The rocket needs to exceed over 40 thousand km/h, which is enough to escape the Earth's gravity, and the rocket is now in space.
With the space shuttle, NASA use a mixture of liquid and solid fuel booster.
The space shuttle consists of 3 main separate parts. The shuttle orbiter.
The giant orange tank is a fuel tank for the shuttle's liquid fueled main engines.
But the main thrust is provided by the two solid boosters along the side.
These are filled with a solid rocket fuel, contained in a casing. There is a hole bored directly down the centre of the rocket.
Once these are lit there is no way to shut them off.
Not like the liquid fuelled rockets that have valves and nozzles controlling the fuel.
These two boosters fire off like a giant party rocket, burning from the inside out down the central hole.
The combustion takes place inside the fuel cell itself, with virtually no moving parts.
When all of the fuel is used up the boosters are jettisoned and they parachute down into the sea to be collected and used again.