How Does a Rocket Work?

By Samuel C.

How a Rocket Works

  • A rocket produces the force that is needed to push an object forward.
  • A rocket has a chamber that is filled with fuel that burns when it is combined with oxygen. It is set on fire when those two mix together.
  • When the rocket fuel ignites, it comes out a hole in the back, and the rocket thrusts itself forward with the object it is attached to.
  • Thrust is the force that propels things forward. Since the rocket is pointing upward and the engine is at the bottom, the thrust pushes it upward.
  • For everything, there is an action and a reaction. The rocket’s action is when the gas and fire comes out of the back, and the reaction is when the rocket and the object attached to it moves forward.

Rocket Fuel
  • The rocket can have two different types of fuel. They are solid fuel and liquid fuel.
  • The solid fuel can burn quickly, but it doesn’t explode. If you use the solid fuel, then there are three disadvantages about it. One is that if you have 1,000,000 pounds of solid fuel, then it burns in about two minutes. Another disadvantage is that people cannot control the thrust of it. The last one is that you cannot stop the engine after you set it on fire.
  • The liquid fuel lets out gas at a very high speed. Once it is ignited, the speed of the gas coming out can go up to 10,000 miles per hour

Rocket Parts
  • The rocket contains 3 main parts, and they are the oxidizer tank, the valve, and the CTN.
  • The oxidizer tank holds oxygen for letting the fuel burn in the Earth’s atmosphere, and in space.
  • The valve keeps the oxidizer tank and CTN together.
  • CTN stands for Case Throat Nozzle. The case is where the fuel is held, like how a case holds items. The throat is how some needed things travel through the rocket, like the human throat, and the nozzle is where the ignited fuel comes out.
  • There is also an igniter, which sets the fuel on fire.

This is a picture of a CTN of a rocket engine.
This is a picture of the Saturn V rocket engine.

This is a diagram of a rocket engine made by me.


  • Fuel- An energy source for engines, power plants, or reactors
  • Oxidizer- An object that takes away hydrogen, and adds oxygen.

  • Allen, Andrew. Introduction to Rockets. UAF. Spring, 2004. Web. Sept. 22/11.
  • Canright, Shelley. How Does A Rocket Stack Up? NASA. Sept. 23/10. Web. Sept. /22/11.

  • Macaulay, David and Ardley, Neil. The New Way Things Work. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998. Print

  • Marshall Brain, How Stuff Works, New York, NY: Hungry Minds Inc. 2001. Print

  • Space Ship One. Oxidizer Tank and CTN. Scaled Composites. Web. Sept. 22/11