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 Project Title: - Rocket Launching

 Team Size:-3

 Project Guide:-Mrs. Kalpana

 Submitted To:- Model College (Dombivili)

Dombivli- East


This is to certify that this project entitled

Rocket Launching is record work carried out
1. Sujata Kutty
2. Rucha Mantri
3. Rasika Patil
Has completed the prescribed project report
satisfactorily during the academic year
Sr Topic name Page

no No
1 Introduction 1

2 Hypothesis 3

3 Aims and objectives 4

4 Basic principle 5

5 History 7

6 Description 10

7 Conclusion and Further work 27

8 Biblography 28

What is Rocket?
A rocket or rocket vehicle is a missile,
spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which
obtains thrust by the
reaction of the rocket
to the ejection of a jet
of fast moving fluid
exhaust from a rocket
engine. Chemical
rockets create their
exhaust by the
combustion of rocket propellant.

The action of the exhaust against the inside

of combustion chambers and expansion nozzles
is able to accelerate the gas to hypersonic
speed, and this exerts a large reactive thrust on
the rocket (an equal and opposite reaction in
accordance with Newton's third law).

Rockets, in the form of military and

recreational uses, date back to at least the 13th

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Widespread military, scientific, and industrial

use did not occur until the 20th century, when
rocketry was the enabling technology of the
Space Age, including setting foot on the moon.

Rockets are used for fireworks, weaponry,

ejection seats, launch vehicles for artificial
satellites, human spaceflight and exploration of
other planets. While comparatively inefficient for
low speed use, they are very lightweight and
powerful, capable of generating large
accelerations and of attaining extremely high
speeds with reasonable efficiency.

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 minimize risks.

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Hypothesis is nothing but a proposition, or set of

propositions, set forth as an explanation for the
occurrence of some specified group of
phenomena, either asserted merely as a
provisional conjecture to guide investigation
(working hypothesis) or accepted as highly
probable in the light of established facts.

We assume that Flying rockets are primarily

affected by the following:

1. Thrust from the engine(s)

2. Gravity
3. Drag if moving in atmosphere

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Aims and Objective

Aim: To enlighten the contribution of maths in

the process of Rocket launching.
Objectives: The main objectives are follows

1. To show the application of maths in

various fields including Aerodynamics.
2. To prove that maths has inevitable
importance in everyday life.
3. Maths has been one of the factors for the
positive growth in Rocket science.

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Basic Principle
Sir Isaac Newton set forth the basic laws of
motion. Newton’s three laws of motion apply to
all rocket-propelled vehicles.

They apply to gas jets used for attitude

control, small rockets used for stage separations
or for trajectory corrections and to large rockets
of the Earth.

They apply to nuclear, electric and other

advanced types of rockets as well as to chemical

Newton’s laws of motion are stated briefly as


Newton’s 1st Law

Every body continues in a state of uniform
motion in a straight line,
unless it is compelled to change that state by a
force imposed upon it.
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Newton’s 2nd Law

When a force is applied to a body, the time rate
of change of momentum is proportional to, and
in the direction of, the applied

Newton’s 3rd Law

For every action there is a reaction that is equal
in magnitude but
opposite in direction to the action.
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It all started in the early1700s, when British

scientist Isaac Newton turned his knowledge in
physical motion into three scientific laws. These
scientific laws explained how and why rockets
work in outer space. These laws worked as
principles in order to design
rockets. Around 1720, Russian
and German Scientists started
working with powerful 45kg
During the 19th – 20th century, rockets
emerged as a devastating weapon of war. British
artillery experts’ attention was caught by the
efficiency of Indian Rockets Barrages in 1792.
These experts started designing rockets for the
British military. These rockets were successful,
used by the British ships to siege ports.
However, these rockets weren’t accurate.
So British scientist, William Hale, developed
a method where the rocket would spin to control
its direction. His principle is still used today.

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Rockets were a success in battlefield as they

had explosives inside. Russian scientist,
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, proposed the idea that
rockets would be more efficient if they worked
on liquid propellants.
American scientist Robert H. Goddard was
the responsible for the first successful liquid
propelled rocket. This rocket flew shortly but
gave birth to what we call today rockets. A
German WWII war rocket called V-2 was
captured by the allies and investigated by
scientists. These scientists were amazed by its
efficiency and technology. The USSR and United
States started having rocketry programs. On
1957, Russia launched artificial satellite Sputnik I
and then launched another one with a dog in it.

These launches were very efficiently and

were a huge influence. Soon, the United States
developed their programs to NASA and launched
rockets such as Apollo. Astronauts were now
walking on the moon.

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In the future, rockets will develop new
engines and propellants. Today some rockets
and satellites use nitrogen but in the future
they’ll be using plasma in projects as VASIMIR.
Other high speed propellants are accelerated
ions or atomic particles are being studied to be
used in the future. These rockets will be able to
reach high distances as Mars and in no time.

We will witness of how a simple steam

powered rocket model in the 1700s evolved to a
powerful ion or plasma or atomic rocket.
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There are several rocket

performance parameters that,
when taken together, describe
a rocket’s overall performance:
1) Thrust,
2) Specific Impulse, and
3) Mass Ratio.


The thrust is the amount of force an engine

produces on the rocket (and on the exhaust
stream leaving the rocket, conservation of
momentum). The amount of thrust, along with
the rocket mass,
determines the acceleration.
The mission profile will determine the
required and acceptable accelerations and thus,
the required thrust. Launching from the Earth
typically requires a thrust to weight ratio of at
least 1.5 to 1.75.

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A typical rocket engine can handle a

significant fraction of its own mass in propellant
each second, with the propellant leaving the
nozzle at several kilometres per second.

This means that the thrust-to-weight ratio of

a rocket engine, and often the entire vehicle can
be very high, in extreme cases over 100. This
compares with other jet propulsion engines that
can exceed 5 for some of the better engines.

The propellant flow rate of a rocket is often

deliberately varied over a flight, to provide a way
to control the thrust and thus the airspeed of the
vehicle. This, for example, allows minimization of
aerodynamic losses and can limit the increase of
g-forces due to the reduction in propellant load.

It can be shown that the net thrust of a rocket is:


propellant flow (kg/s or lb/s)

the effective exhaust velocity (m/s or ft/s)

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The ve of a rocket engine is often almost

constant in a vacuum, but in practice the
effective exhaust velocity of rocket engines goes
down when operated within an atmosphere as
the atmospheric pressure goes up. In space, the
effective exhaust velocity is equal to the actual
exhaust velocity. In the atmosphere, the two
velocities are close in value.
Specific Impulse (Isp )

Specific impulse is a measure of propellant

efficiency, and numerically is the thrust
produced divided by the weight of propellant
consumed per second (ending up with units of
seconds). So, Isp is really another measure of a
rocket’s exhaust velocity.

It is defined such that it is related to the effective

exhaust velocity by:


Isp has units of seconds

g0 is the acceleration at the surface of the

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Thus, the greater the specific impulse, the
greater the net thrust and performance of the
engine. Isp is determined by measurement while
testing the engine. In practice the effective
exhaust velocities of rockets varies but can be
extremely high, ~4500 m/s, about 15 times the
sea level speed of sound in air.

Mass ratios

Persons not familiar with spaceflight rarely

realize that almost all of a launch vehicle's mass
consists of propellant.] Mass ratio is, for any
'burn', the ratio between the rocket's initial mass
and the mass after.

Everything else being equal, a high mass

ratio is desirable for good performance, since it
indicates that the rocket is lightweight and
hence performs better, for essentially the same
reasons that low weight is desirable in sports
cars. Rockets as a group have the highest thrust-
to-weight ratio of any type of engine; and this
helps vehicles achieve high mass ratios, which
improves the performance of flights.

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The higher the ratio, the less engine mass is

needed to be carried. This permits the carrying
of even more propellant, enormously improving
the delta-v. Alternatively, some rockets such as
for rescue scenarios or racing carry relatively
little propellant and payload and thus need only
a lightweight structure and instead achieve high
accelerations. For example, the Soyuz escape
system can produce 20g.

Achievable mass ratios are highly dependent

on many factors such as propellant type, the
design of engine the vehicle uses, structural
safety margins and construction techniques.
The highest mass ratios are generally achieved
with liquid rockets, and these types are usually
used for orbital launch vehicles, a situation
which calls for a high delta-v.

Liquid propellants generally have densities

similar to water (with the notable exceptions of
liquid hydrogen and liquid methane), and these
types are able to use lightweight, low pressure
tanks and typically run high-performance turbo
pumps to force the propellant into the
combustion chamber.

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Some notable mass fractions are found in the

following table (some aircraft are included for
comparison purposes):
Propellant mix Vacuum Isp Effective
(seconds) exhaust
velocity (m/s)
liquid oxygen/ 455 4462
liquid hydrogen
liquid oxygen/ 358 3510
kerosene (RP-
nitrogen 305 3510


The total impulse of a rocket burning its

propellant is simply:

When there is fixed thrust, this is simply:

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Sir Isaac Newton first presented his three
laws of motion in the "Principia Mathematica
Philosophiae Naturalis" in 1686. His second law
defines a force to be equal to the differential
change in momentum per unit time as described
by the calculus of mathematics, which Newton
also developed. The momentum is defined to be
the mass of an object m times its velocity v. So
the differential equation for force F is:

F = d(m * v) / dt
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we assume a perfectly vertical launch. If the

launch is inclined at some angle, we resolve
the initial velocity into a vertical and
horizontal component. Unlike the ballistic
flight equations, the horizontal equation
includes the action of aerodynamic drag on
the rocket. On this page, we assume that the
horizontal force is much less than the

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For an object subject to only the forces of weight

and drag, there is a characteristic velocity
which appears in many of the equations. The
characteristic velocity is called the terminal
velocity because it is the constant velocity
that the object sustains during the coasting
descent. Terminal velocity is noted by the
symbol Vt.

During coasting descent, the weight and drag of

an object are equal and opposite. There is no
net force acting on the rocket and the
vertical acceleration is zero.


where a is the acceleration, W is the weight, and
D is the drag. The weight of any object is
given by the weight equation:


where m is the mass of the object and g is the

gravitational acceleration equal to 32.2
ft/sec^2 or 9.8 m/sec^2 on the surface of
the Earth. The gravitational acceleration has
different values on the Moon and on Mars.

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The drag is given by the drag equation:

D = .5 * Cd * r * A * Vt^2

where r is the gas density, Cd is the drag

coefficient which characterizes the effects
of shape of the rocket, A is the cross-
sectional area of the rocket, and Vt is the
terminal velocity. The gas density has
different surface values on the Earth and on
Mars and varies with altitude. On the Moon
the gas density is zero. Combining the last
three equations, we can determine the
terminal velocity:

m * g = .5 * Cd * r * A * Vt^2

Vt = sqrt ( (2 * m * g) / (Cd * r * A) )

Now, turning to the ascent trajectory, the rocket

is traveling at an initial vertical velocity Vo.
For the stomp rocket the velocity is set by
the launch mechanism and there is no
thrust once the rocket is launched. With the
positive vertical coordinate denoted by y, the
net vertical force Fnet acting on the rocket is
given by:

Fnet = -W -D

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Because the weight of the object is a constant,
we can use the simple form of Newton's
second law to solve for the vertical

Fnet = m a = -W - D

m a = - (m * g) - (.5 * Cd * r * A * v^2)

a = -g - (Cd * r * A * v^2) / (2 * m)

Multiply the last term by g/g and use the

definition of the terminal velocity to obtain:

a = -g * (1 + v^2 / Vt^2)

The acceleration is the time rate of change of

velocity :

a = dv/dt = -g * (1 + v^2 / Vt^2)

Integrating this differential equation:

dv / (1 + v^2 / Vt^2) = -g dt

Vt * tan-1(v/Vt) = -g * t
where tan-1 is the inverse tangent function, and
t is time.

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The limits of integration for velocity v is from Vo

to V and the limits for time t is from 0 to t:

tan-1(V/Vt) - tan-1(Vo/Vt) = - g * t / Vt

tan-1(V/Vt) = tan-1(Vo/Vt) - g * t / Vt

Now take the tangent function of both sides of

the equation using the trigonometric

tan(a - b) = (tan(a) - tan(b))/(1 + tan(a)*tan(b))

on the right hand side to obtain:

V/Vt = (Vo/Vt - tan(g * t / Vt) / (1 + (Vo/Vt) * tan

(g * t / Vt))

V/Vt = (Vo - Vt * tan(g * t / Vt) / (Vt + Vo * tan (g

* t / Vt))
This is the equation for the velocity at any time
during the coasting ascent. At the top of the
trajectory, the velocity is zero. We can solve
the velocity equation to determine the time
when this occurs:

Vo/Vt = tan(g * t(v=o) / Vt)

t(v=o) = (Vt / g) * tan-1(Vo/Vt)

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To determine the vertical location during the

ascent, we have to use another identity from
differential calculus:

dv/dt = dv/dy * dy/dt

dv/dt = v * dv/dy

We previously determined that

dv/dt = -g * (1 + v^2 / Vt^2)

v * dv/dy = -g * (1 + v^2 / Vt^2)

(v /(1 + v^2 / Vt^2)) * dv = -g dy

Integrating both sides:

(Vt^2 / 2) * (ln (v^2 + Vt^2)) = - g * y

where ln is the natural logarithmic function. The

limits of integration for velocity v is from Vo
to V and the limits for direction y is from 0 to

(Vt^2 / 2) * (ln (V^2 + Vt^2) - ln (Vo^2 + Vt^2)


y = (Vt^2 / (2 * g)) * ln ((Vo^2 + Vt^2)/(V^2 +


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Notice that the location equation is pretty

messy! For a given time t, we would have to
find the local velocity V, and then plug that
value into the location equation to get the
location y. At the maximum height ymax, the
velocity is equal to zero:

ymax = (Vt^2 / (2 * g)) * ln ((Vo^2 +


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The forces on a rocket change dramatically
during a typical flight. This figure shows a
derivation of the change in velocity during
powered flight while accounting for the
changing mass of the rocket. During powered
flight the propellants of the propulsion
system are constantly being exhausted from
the nozzle. As a result, the weight of the
rocket is constantly changing. In this
derivation, we are going to neglect the
effects of aerodynamic lift and drag. We
can add these effects to the final answer.

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Let us begin with Newton's second law of

motion, shown in blue on the figure:

d (M u) / dt = F net

where M is the mass of the rocket, u is the

velocity of the rocket, F net is the net
external force on the rocket and the symbol
d / dt denotes that this is a differential
equation in time t. The only external force
which we will consider is the thrust from the
propulsion system.

The specific impulse, the thrust equation is

given by:

F = mdot * Veq
where mdot is the mass flow rate, and Veq is
the equivalent exit velocity of the nozzle
which is defined to be:

Veq = V exit + (p exit - p0) * Aexit / mdot

where V exit is the exit velocity, p exit is the exit

pressure, p0 is the free stream pressure,
and A exit is the exit area of the nozzle. Veq
is also related to the specific impulse Isp:

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Veq = Isp * g0

where g0 is the gravitational constant. m dot is

mass flow rate and is equal to the change in
the mass of the propellants mp on board the

mdot = d mp / dt
Substituting the expression for the thrust into
the motion equation gives:

d (M u) / dt = V eq * d mp / dt

d (M u) = Veq d mp

Expanding the left side of the equation:

M du + u dM = Veq d mp

Assume we are moving with the rocket, then the

value of u is zero:

M du = Veq d mp

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Now, if we consider the instantaneous mass

of the rocket M, the mass is composed of two
main parts, the empty mass me and the
propellant mass mp. The empty mass does not
change with time, but the mass of propellants on
board the rocket does change with time:

M(t) = me + mp (t)

Initially, the full mass of the rocket mf contains

the empty mass and all of the propellant at
lift off. At the end of the burn, the mass of
the rocket contains only the empty mass:

M initial = mf = me + mp

M final = me

The change on the mass of the rocket is equal to

the change in mass of the propellant, which
is negative, since propellant mass is
constantly being ejected out of the nozzle:

dM = - d mp

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If we substitute this relation into the motion

M du = - Veq dM

du = - Veq dM / M

We can now integrate this equation:

delta u = - Veq ln (M)

where delta represents the change in velocity,

and ln is the symbol for the natural
logarithmic function. The limits of
integration are from the initial mass of the
rocket to the final mass of the rocket.
Substituting for these values we obtain:

delta u = Veq ln (mf / me)

This equation is called the ideal rocket equation.

There are several additional forms of this
equation which we list here: Using the
definition of the propellant mass ratio MR
MR = mf / me

delta u = Veq * ln (MR)

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or in terms of the specific impulse of the engine:

delta u = Isp * g0 * ln (MR)

If we have a desired delta u for a maneuver, we

can invert this equation to determine the
amount of propellant required:

MR = exp (delta u / (Isp * g0) )

where exp is the exponential function.

If you include the effects of gravity, the rocket

equation becomes:

delta u = Veq ln (MR) - g0 * tb

where tb is the time for the burn.

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Energy Efficiency

Rocket propulsive efficiency as a function of

vehicle speed divided by effective exhaust speed

Rocket launch vehicles take-off with a great deal

of flames, noise and drama, and it might seem
obvious that they are grievously inefficient.
However, while they are far from perfect, their
energy efficiency is not as bad as might be

The energy density of a typical rocket propellant

is often around 1/3 that of conventional
hydrocarbon fuels; the bulk of the mass is in the
form of (often relatively inexpensive) oxidizer.

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Nevertheless, at take-off the rocket has a

great deal of energy in the form of fuel and
oxidizer stored within the vehicle. It is of course
desirable that as much of the energy of the
propellant end up as kinetic or potential energy
of the body of the rocket as possible.

Energy from the fuel is lost in air drag and

gravity drag and is used for the rocket to gain
altitude and speed. However, much of the lost
energy ends up in the exhaust.

100% efficiency within the engine (engine

efficiency ηc = 100%) would mean that all of the
heat energy of the combustion products is
converted into kinetic energy of the jet. This is
not possible, but the high expansion ratio
nozzles that can be used with rockets come
surprisingly close: when the nozzle expands the
gas, the gas is cooled and accelerated, and an
energy efficiency of up to 70% can be achieved.
Most of the rest is heat energy in the exhaust
that is not recovered.[93] The high efficiency is a
consequence of the fact that rocket combustion
can be performed at very high temperatures and
the gas is finally released at much lower
temperatures, and so giving good Carnot

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However, engine efficiency is not the whole

story. In common with the other jet-based
engines, but particularly in rockets due to their
high and typically fixed exhaust speeds, rocket
vehicles are extremely inefficient at low speeds
irrespective of the engine efficiency. The
problem is that at low speeds, the exhaust
carries away a huge amount of kinetic energy
rearward. This phenomenon is termed propulsive
efficiency (ηp).

However, as speeds rise, the resultant exhaust

speed goes down, and the overall vehicle
energetic efficiency rises, reaching a peak of
around 100% of the engine efficiency when the
vehicle is travelling exactly at the same speed
that the exhaust is emitted. In this case the
exhaust would ideally stop dead in space behind
the moving vehicle, taking away zero energy,
and from conservation of energy, all the energy
would end up in the vehicle.

The efficiency then drops off again at even

higher speeds as the exhaust ends up travelling
forwards- trailing behind the vehicle.
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From these principles it can be shown that the

propulsive efficiency ηp for a rocket moving at
speed u with an exhaust velocity c is:

And the overall energy efficiency η is:

η = ηpηc

For example, from the equation, with an ηc of

0.7, a rocket flying at Mach 0.85 (which most
aircraft cruise at) with an exhaust velocity of
Mach 10, would have a predicted overall energy
efficiency of 5.9%, whereas a conventional,
modern, air breathing jet engine achieves closer
to 35% efficiency. Thus a rocket would need
about 6x more energy; and allowing for the ~3x
lower specific energy of rocket propellant than
conventional air fuel, roughly 18x more mass of
propellant would need to be carried for the same
journey. This is why rockets are rarely if ever
used for general aviation

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Since the energy ultimately comes from fuel,

these considerations mean that rockets are
mainly useful when a very high speed is
required, such as ICBMs or orbital launch. For
example NASA's space shuttle fires its engines
for around 8.5 minutes, consuming 1,000 tonnes
of solid propellant (containing 16% aluminium)
and an additional 2,000,000 litres of liquid
propellant (106,261 kg of liquid hydrogen fuel) to
lift the 100,000 kg vehicle (including the
25,000 kg payload) to an altitude of 111 km and
an orbital velocity of 30,000 km/h.
With an energy density of 31MJ per kg for
aluminum and 143 MJ/kg for liquid hydrogen, this
means that the vehicle consumes around 5 TJ of
solid propellant and 15 TJ of hydrogen fuel. Once
in orbit at 200 km and around 7.8 km/s velocity,
the orbiter requires no further fuel. At this
altitude and velocity, the vehicle has a kinetic
energy of about 3 TJ and a potential energy of
roughly 200 GJ. Given the initial energy of 20 TJ,
the Space Shuttle is about 16% energy efficient
at launching the orbiter.

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Thus jet engines which have a better match

between speed and jet exhaust speed such as
turbofans (in spite of their worse ηc) dominate for
subsonic and supersonic atmospheric use while
rockets work best at hypersonic speeds. On the
other hand rockets do also see many short-range
relatively low speed military applications where
their low-speed inefficiency is outweighed by
their extremely high thrust and hence high

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Delta-v (rocket equation)

A map of approximate Delta-v's around the solar
system between Earth and Mars.

The delta-v capacity of a rocket is the

theoretical total change in velocity that a rocket
can achieve without any external interference
(without air drag or gravity or other forces).When
ve is constant, the delta-v that a rocket vehicle
can provide can be calculated from the
Tsiolkovsky rocket equation:


m0 is the initial total mass, including

propellant, in kg (or lb)
m1 is the final total mass in kg (or lb)
ve is the effective exhaust velocity in m/s or
is the delta-v in m/s (or ft/s)

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When launched from the Earth practical
delta-v's for a single rockets carrying payloads
can be a few km/s. Some theoretical designs
have rockets with delta-v's over 9 km/s.

T he required delta-v can also be calculated for

a particular manoeuvre; for example the delta-v
to launch from the surface of the Earth to Low
earth orbit is about 9.7 km/s, which leaves the
vehicle with a sideways speed of about 7.8 km/s
at an altitude of around 200 km. In this
manoeuvre about 1.9 km/s is lost in air drag,
gravity drag and gaining altitude.

The ratio is sometimes called the mass ratio.

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Conclusion and Further Work

The hypothesis that we had assumed have been

Flying rockets are primarily affected by the

1. Thrust from the engine(s) – As Thrust is the

main factor that determines the speed of the
rocket. Hence Thrust affects the flying of the
Rocket. We can say our first hypothesis has
been proved.
2. Gravity – It is a known fact that gravity plays
the major role in the launch. A rocket has to
cross the escape velocity so as to get out of
the atmosphere. Gravity attracts the rocket
and all the things coming from the space and
going in to the space from the earth towards
itself. Our second Hypothesis has been
3. Drag – Drag is used to apply force which
slows the vehicle as well as presenting
structural loads. So we can say that flying
rockets is also affected by drag. Hence our
last hypothesis has also been proved.

Rocket Launching - 28 -


• Asker, James R., “Moon/Mars Prospects May

Hinge on Nuclear Propulsion,” Aviation
• Week & Space Technology, December 2,
1991, pp. 38-44.
• Hill, Philip G., Peterson, Carl R., Mechanics
and Thermodynamics of Propulsion.
• Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, MA,
• Jane’s Spaceflight Directory, Jane’s, London,
• Space Handbook, Air University Press,
Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, January 1985.
• Sutton, George P., Rocket Propulsion
Elements, John Wiley & Sons, New York,
• Wertz, James R., and Wiley J. Larson, ed.,
Space Mission Analysis and Design, Kluwer
• Academic Publishers, Boston, MA, 1991.