People think of rockets as thin, narrow, gigantic cylindrical vehicles. In reality, a rocket can be any propulsion system that can lift objects from a stable position. Rocket is usually a streamlined object that travels very fast by burning compressed fuels. It creates thrust by controlled explosion using chemical reactions. Originally rockets were purposefully made for warfare. Even though they have become much deadlier than ever, currently rockets are being used in broader scenarios. Here are some of the main uses of rockets.
Defence and Military Purposes
Since the invention of the rocket, it has been used as a military weapon. Rocket technology has been drastically improving since World War II. A missile is a rocket-driven weapon devised to deliver explosive firearms with incredible accuracy and speed. Many military weapons rely on rockets to shoot warheads to intended destinations. Anti-aircraft and anti-tank defence systems rely on rocket engines to counter targets at high altitudes. Modern ballistic missiles could be used to carry numerous nuclear bombs to intercontinental targets. With the combined power of kinetic energy and explosives, missiles can create enormous destruction.
Launch Vehicle for Spaceflights
Rockets are extensively used in launching vehicles for human spaceflights, artificial satellites and space shuttles.Rockets are the most reliable vehicle to carry satellites and other research equipment to Earth’s orbit and beyond. Big rockets are usually launched from a launch pad that gives a steady initial thrust for the first few seconds. They have a high velocity, which allows them to break free from the escape velocity of Earth. They are used for rapid acceleration for initial lift and creating thrust for a soft landing. In fact, rockets are the only way to launch satellites into orbit for both commercial and research purposes.
Rockets are used in many rescue operations both on Earth and in space. Launch escape systems depend on small solid rockets for pulling the onboard capsules to the intended destinations. These systems have been employed numerous times in test trials and actual missions. Many astronauts have been saved by using such methods during unexpected explosions of space shuttles. Rocket ejection seats are used in military aircraft for emergency escape when aircraft get out of control. Small rockets are also used to propel emergency flares and other visual signals.
Some of the modern fireworks use the basic principles of rockets. Fireworks like skyrockets have a long stick which gives stability during flight. They are propelled by gunpowder ignited by electric or fire sparks. Like standard rockets, airborne fireworks create thrust by exerting force on the ground (by gun powder). Different combinations of kinetic and potential energy produce various manoeuvres and trajectories.
Miniature rockets are constructed using paper, plastic, wood, etc. Numerous companies create miniature rocket kits. There are strict guidelines for launch sites, propulsion techniques, deployment and recovery systems. Even though this may sound explosive and dangerous, miniature rockets have been very safe to use. They are the primary source of inspiration for students who like to pursue rocket research and innovations. Jet packs, rocket cars, and other fast vehicles use hydrogen peroxide rockets. Another famous model rocket is the water rocket. It uses pressurised water as a propulsion source; it is expelled by compressed air.