Note: this article was orginally written as an Instagram post for Level 2 air cadets at the 540 Golden Hawks Squadron.
1. A rocket is any tube that travels through th eair by exploding something at its back 🚀
2. Rockets have existed for about 1000 years! The first ones were used in China to launch arrows. 🚀
3. Only type of rocket ever has been big and powerful enough to take human beings to the moon: the Saturn V! (The “V” is actually read as “Five”). 🚀
4. A modern is made up of four major “systems” (basically, collection of parts): a structural system, a propulsion system, a payload system, and a guidance system. 🚀
5. The structural system is pretty much what holds the rocket together. This includes the nose cone, frame, and fins. 🚀
6. The nose cone is what holds the two most important things: the payload (which is what you want to deliver to your target: it could be explosives to an enemy base, people to the moon, or supplies for the space station), and the guidance systems (basically the GPS). 🚀
7. The frame is the body of the rocket. It holds everything together. (You generally do not want your rocket parts to be socially distancing until at least *after* it’s launch!) 🚀
8. The propulsion system consists of fuel, oxidizer (what makes the fuel burn extra hot), pumps which move the fuel and oxidizer from their separate tanks into the nozzle, where they are ignited and explode. 🚀
9. Rocket fuel can be either liquid or solid. Solid fuels (like gunpowder, or nitrogen-based compounds) are cheap and very powerful — but you can’t control them after you lit them up. Liquid fuels (like kerosene) are controllable, but are heavier and more expensive. 🚀
10. The fins help steer the rocket and keep it from flying out of control. 🚀
Of course, rocket science is way more complicated than what I’ve described. But if you understand the basics, the more complicated stuff becomes easier.
Bonus fact: You can describe most of the parts of a Saturn V rocket using the 1000 most common words in English!