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Timmerflyer 06-18-2006 04:08 PM

Space Rockets

This doesn't really matter with a science fair but a difficult question about rocket engines working in space. Well it starts out that my dad and I was watch space cowboys. My dad asked me how do the rockets engine move the space shuttle were there is nothing for the hot gases to push on. Well I couldn't answer that is why I'm asking you guys.


michael 06-19-2006 04:53 AM

ya sure refer to the newtons third law FOR EVERY ACTION THERE IS AN EQUAL AND OPOSITE REACTION.
so even on earth the gases don't push on air instead they push on the rocket
but the engine style must be differemt

Spartan 117 06-22-2006 10:15 AM

Michael is correct. Regardless of where the rocket is located, in air, in the vacuum of space, or even UNDER WATER, the "fire" coming from the rocket engine does NOT push on the surrounding molecules for propulsion(like rowing a boat), instead, the rocket engine creates force against the rocket itself, pushing the rocket away from the action. The movement of the rocket is the reaction. A HUGE factor in the forward inertia of the rocket is resistance. In most cases, it is friction or drag. No matter where the rocket is, the rocket engine will always exert the same amount of force on the rocket. It is the amount of resistance that the rocket encounters that will determine momentum, speed, and inertia. The rocket will go relatively slow under water, because water offers VERY HIGH resistance. The rocket will go very fast, and very far in air, because air has far less resistence than water. And a rocket in space can go extremely fast, and will not stop for thousands of years unless interrupted by gravity. There are stray atoms in space, but not enough to offer effective resistance on the rocket. So, when in space, the slightest burst from the engines can theoretically send the rocket on a trip for ETERNITY.

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