Portal:Rocketry
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Portal:Rocketry

Introduction

The Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Site 1/5 in Kazakhstan

A rocket (from Italian: rocchetto, lit.'bobbin/spool') is a projectile that spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicles use to obtain thrust from a rocket engine. Rocket engine exhaust is formed entirely from propellant carried within the rocket. Rocket engines work by action and reaction and push rockets forward simply by expelling their exhaust in the opposite direction at high speed, and can therefore work in the vacuum of space.

In fact, rockets work more efficiently in space than in an atmosphere. Multistage rockets are capable of attaining escape velocity from Earth and therefore can achieve unlimited maximum altitude. Compared with airbreathing engines, rockets are lightweight and powerful and capable of generating large accelerations. To control their flight, rockets rely on momentum, airfoils, auxiliary reaction engines, gimballed thrust, momentum wheels, deflection of the exhaust stream, propellant flow, spin, or gravity.

Rockets for military and recreational uses date back to at least 13th-century China. Significant scientific, interplanetary and industrial use did not occur until the 20th century, when rocketry was the enabling technology for the Space Age, including setting foot on the Earth's moon. Rockets are now used for fireworks, weaponry, ejection seats, launch vehicles for artificial satellites, human spaceflight, and space exploration.

Chemical rockets are the most common type of high power rocket, typically creating a high speed exhaust by the combustion of fuel with an oxidizer. The stored propellant can be a simple pressurized gas or a single liquid fuel that disassociates in the presence of a catalyst (monopropellant), two liquids that spontaneously react on contact (hypergolic propellants), two liquids that must be ignited to react (like kerosene (RP1) and liquid oxygen, used in most liquid-propellant rockets), a solid combination of fuel with oxidizer (solid fuel), or solid fuel with liquid or gaseous oxidizer (hybrid propellant system). Chemical rockets store a large amount of energy in an easily released form, and can be very dangerous. However, careful design, testing, construction and use minimizes risks. (Full article...)

Selected article

Smoke and debris from the Space Shuttle Challenger is seen after the disintegration in 1986.
Smoke and debris from the Space Shuttle Challenger is seen after the disintegration in 1986.

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was a fatal accident in the United States' space program that occurred on January 28, 1986, when the Challenger (OV-099) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard. The crew consisted of five NASA astronauts, and two payload specialists. The mission carried the designation STS-51-L and was the tenth flight for the Challenger orbiter.

The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39a.m. EST (16:39 UTC). The disintegration of the vehicle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The failure was caused by the failure of O-ring seals used in the joint that were not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that existed at this launch. The seals' failure caused a breach in the SRB joint, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.
(Full article...)

Selected biography

Tsiolkovsky in 1934
Tsiolkovsky in 1934
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky
B. (1857-09-17)September 17, 1857 – d. (1935-09-19)September 19, 1935

Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky (Russian: ? ? ; 17 September [O.S. 5 September] 1857 - 19 September 1935), was a Russian and Soviet rocket scientist who pioneered astronautic theory. Along with the Frenchman Robert Esnault-Pelterie, the Transylvanian German Hermann Oberth and the American Robert H. Goddard, he is one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry and astronautics. His works later inspired leading Soviet rocket-engineers such as Sergei Korolev and Valentin Glushko and contributed to the success of the Soviet space-program.
(Full article...)

In the news

5 June 2021 - Yemeni Civil War
Seventeen people are killed and five more wounded during a rocket attack near a petrol station in the city of Marib, Yemen. The incident is blamed on the Houthis, who however did not claim responsibility. (Al Jazeera English)
20 May 2021 - 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis
Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire in order to stop airstrikes in Gaza and the launching of rockets in Israel. The 11 days of conflict have killed 232 people in Gaza and 11 in Israel. Egypt agrees to observe the implementation of the ceasefire. (BBC News)
19 May 2021 - Manhunt for Jürgen Conings
A manhunt is ongoing for a far-right extremist, identified as a soldier, in Dilsen-Stokkem, Limburg, Belgium, after threatening virologist Marc Van Ranst. The suspect is heavily armed and considered as a serious threat. Four rocket launchers were found in his car. (BBC)
18 May 2021 - 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis
A Hamas rocket kills two Thai workers and injures ten others in southern Israel, thereby bringing the death toll in the country to 12. (Times of Israel)
17 May 2021 - 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis
The Israeli military shells southern Lebanon after several Grad-type rockets were fired at Israel. (Deutsche Welle)
16 May 2021 - 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis
Hamas fires over 190 rockets at towns and cities in southern Israel, damaging numerous buildings, including a synagogue. Approximately 3,000 rockets have been fired in the past week. (Times of Israel)

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