Today, the word ‘rocket’ has found broad uses in almost all aspects of development. Missiles used in wars are a form of rockets. The space satellites used to collect information about planets and their satellites are launched into orbit by rockets. We hear of fireworks called rockets. Whatever be the context in which the word rocket is used, one thing is certain — all rockets function on the same principle. A rocket works on the principle of Newton’s third law of motion. According to this law, ‘to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’. The gases produced by the burning of fuels inside the rocket chamber come out of a nozzle and produce a great force. As a result of this reaction, the rocket gets the necessary push to move forward. Do you know how the rocket was developed? The story of the development of the rocket starts with China. Rocket development took a very long period of time. No single person can be credited with its invention. In the year 1232, the Chinese used ‘arrows of flying fire’ in the wars against the Mongols. These arrows were also a kind of rocket. By 1275, rockets were being used in India, England, Arabian countries, Germany and France and few other countries. During the early 1800s, Colonel William Congreve of the British Army developed rockets, which were used in every war thereafter. In 1926, Robert H. Goddard of America developed liquid-propelled rockets. Goddard today is known as ‘The Father of Modern Rocketry’. High-speed rockets were specially developed for space explorations. The Space Age began on October 4, 1957 when Russia launched its first satellite, Sputnik I. Today, we have solid and liquid-propelled rockets, nuclear and electric rockets. Nowadays, multistage rockets are used for launching the space shuttle or putting satellites into either Earth orbit or on exploratory voyages to other planets.
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