A4 (National Air & Space Museum, Washington)
A4 (national air & space museum, Washington)

a rocket (of Italian rocchetta = spindle) is a missile with recoil drive (rocket propulsion), which is independent of the environment and therefore also in the vacuum can be accelerated.

InRockets a long acceleration phase have contrast to projectiles. Because of the loads clearly smaller thereby the structure of the rocket can be kept very easy.

With rockets the orders of magnitude of the notorious fireworks rockets of New Year's Eve reach over military rockets up tothe enormous Energija or the Saturn V, which in the Apollo project - manned which flight to the moon - one used.

Table of contents


firstdelivered rocket start took place 1232 in the Empire of China . In the war against the Mongols the Chinese used a kind rocket in the battle of dock Keng: They shot a multiplicity more simply, from black powders of propelled projectiles on the aggressors.

InEurope found first documented start of a rocket 1555 in the Romanian Hermannstadt . The missile had already a three-stage drive system.


each rocket consists of the following building groups:

the building groups by the covering are held together. Individual building groups can occur also several times (multistage rocket).


For self-startingable missiles because of the high acceleration need chemical rocket engines are used. Already established nuclear energy rocket engines were not used for safety and environmental protection reasons. Electrical rocket engines function only in the vacuum and only for space probes and satellites already started are used (ion drive).

tax and steering devices

unguided rockets

unguided rockets are aligned by the firing angle and stabilized during the flight only aerodynamically. This takes place via spin or tail units, whereby also tail units can produce spin. The tail units finditself thereby always at the rear end of the rocket, behind the emphasis.

For hobby amateur handicraftsmen of importance are model rockets.

guided rockets

guided rockets are subject to a course monitoring during the flight and have the possibility of correcting the course.The correction of course can take place autonomously or via one however constituted control station.

The correction of course is usually introduced by a gyroscope system supervising the space situation. This can take place via the following Steuerglieder:

  • Tail units affect surrounding air and can therebyduring flights in the atmosphere also after burnout to be used
  • thrusters to work directly in the discharged gas flow
  • tiltable Expansionsdüse (n)
  • Steuertriebwerke

within the military range are called guided rockets missiles.


the covering of rockets must to favour of theFuel and the pay load as easily as possible its. In order to carry after burn-up of a certain fuel quantity if possible little Totlast, larger rockets are multi-level laid out. I.e. after burnout of a stage this is separated and the next stage ignites, the separation can (usuallyBlow off) also via ignition of the following stage take place.

The design of the covering depends very strongly on the range of application of the rocket. For flights in the atmosphere the covering must be laid out aerodynamically favorably, moreover substantial aerodynamic forces work at high speedon the covering and it can come to substantial thermal loads by friction.


  • as weapon (from the rocket pistol to the intercontinental missile)
  • space travel
  • Höhenforschung
  • technical experiments
  • sea-rescue
  • pipe installation (to shooting Vorseilen over valleys)
  • fireworks
  • of distress signals
  • for the simulation of thrust forces on the point of high buildings (when 1957 the overhead line masts of the line was finished placed over the road from Messina, the self-swinging duration of these constructions was determined, by igniting at their point rockets fastened and this, sourceTower structures, building publishing house GmbH, Wiesbaden (Germany), to 1966)

booster rockets, elevator research rockets and military rockets

for more information to booster rockets see the major item booster rocket

(to selection, see also list of the rocket types)

of rocket accidents

major items: Disasters of space travel

although with the development and testing of rocketsmany explosions occurred, gave it, since as a rule very strict safety precautions, only few rocket accidents with personal injury were used.

deadly rocket accidents, in which persons at the soil were victims

Date place number of the dead kind of the disaster
17.May 1930 Berlin, Germany 1 max of Valier dies with combustion chamber explosion
10. October 1933 Germany 3 explosion in the workshop of Reinhold Tiling
16. July 1934 grief village, Germany 3 engine explosion with soil test
24. October 1960 Baikonur, Kazakhstan > 100 Explosion of a R-16 on the launch pad (see Nedelin disaster)
14. April 1964 Cape Canaveral, the USA 3 rocket ignited when assembly assembling
7. May 1964 brown situation, Germany 3 at the demonstration of post office rockets of Gerhard sugar explodes a rocket briefly afterthe start and rubble meet people in the spectator quantity
26. June 1973 Plesetsk, Russia 9 explosion of a Kosmos-3M on the launch pad
18. March 1980 Plesetsk, Russia 48 explosion of a Wostok-2M on the launch pad
14. February 1996 Xichang, China 6 crash of a LM-3B rocket briefly after the start in an nearby village
15. October 2002 Plesetsk, Russia 1 explosion with the start of Soyuz - of a rocket
22. August 2003 Alcantara, Brazil 21 explosion of a VLS-1 rocket on the launch pad

deadly rocket accidents with manned flights and space missions

Date aircraft number of the dead kind of the disaster
2. March 1945 Bachem Ba 349 Natter 1 crash after start
28. January 1986 STS-51-L (Challenger) 7 explosion briefly after thatStart
1. February 2003 STS-107 (Columbia) 7 broken apart with the reentry in terrestrial atmosphere. A cause was a defect of the shuttle caused when starting by sloping isolation parts of the external tank.


  • people hard Bode, Gerhard emperor: Rocket traces. Peenemuende 1936-1996 -A historical report with current photos. Christoph on the left of publishing house - link pressure GmbH, Berlin, 1996 ISBN 3-86153-112-7
  • Gerhard brushwood: Rocket research in Germany. As humans the universe conquered. Agency Klaus Lenser, Münster, 1997, ISBN 3-89019-500-8
  • Michael J. New field: ThoseRocket and the realm. Who ago of brown, Peenemuende and the beginning of the rocket age. Henschel publishing house, Berlin, 1999, ISBN 3-89487-325-6
  • Harald Lutz: The forgotten rocket experiments of Cuxhaven. Stars and space 44 (3), S. 40 - 45 (2005), ISSN 0039-1263

see also

Web on the left of

Commons: Rocket - pictures, videos and/or audio files

  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)