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A rocket (Italian rocchetta‚ "little fuse"<ref name="vonbraunrocketry"/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>) is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle that obtains thrust from a rocket engine. Rocket engine exhaust is formed entirely from propellant carried within the rocket before use.<ref name="RPE7">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}} chapter 1</ref> 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 space.

Indeed, rockets work more efficiently in space than in an atmosphere. Multi-stage 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. Rockets rely on momentum, airfoils, auxiliary reaction engines, gimballed thrust, momentum wheels, deflection of the exhaust stream, propellant flow, spin, and/or gravity to help control flight.

Rockets for military and recreational uses date back to at least 13th century China.<ref name="NASAEARLY">{{#invoke:Footnotes|harvard_citation_no_bracket}} "Rockets in Ancient Times (100 B.C. to 17th Century)"</ref> 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 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 (monopropellants), two liquids that spontaneously react on contact (hypergolic propellants), two liquids that must be ignited to react, a solid combination of one or more fuels with one or more oxidizers (solid fuel), or solid fuel with liquid oxidant (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.


Rocket sections
Intro  History of rockets  Types  Design  Uses  Noise  Physics  Safety, reliability and accidents  Costs and economics  See also  Notes  References  External links  

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