Aeronautics
Overview
 
Aeronautics is the science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of airflight
Flight
Flight is the process by which an object moves either through an atmosphere or beyond it by generating lift or propulsive thrust, or aerostatically using buoyancy, or by simple ballistic movement....

-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 and rocketry
Rocketry
Rocketry may refer to:* The design, construction, launching and operation of rockets** The hobbyist or professional use of model rockets* High-power rocketry, a hobby similar to model rocketry...

 within the atmosphere. While the term—literally meaning "sailing the air"—originally referred solely to the science of operating the aircraft, it has since been expanded to include technology, business and other aspects related to aircraft.

One of the significant parts in aeronautics is a branch of physical science
Physical science
Physical science is an encompassing term for the branches of natural science and science that study non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences...

 called aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

, which deals with the motion of air and the way that it interacts with objects in motion, such as an aircraft.
Encyclopedia
Aeronautics is the science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 involved with the study, design, and manufacturing of airflight
Flight
Flight is the process by which an object moves either through an atmosphere or beyond it by generating lift or propulsive thrust, or aerostatically using buoyancy, or by simple ballistic movement....

-capable machines, or the techniques of operating aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 and rocketry
Rocketry
Rocketry may refer to:* The design, construction, launching and operation of rockets** The hobbyist or professional use of model rockets* High-power rocketry, a hobby similar to model rocketry...

 within the atmosphere. While the term—literally meaning "sailing the air"—originally referred solely to the science of operating the aircraft, it has since been expanded to include technology, business and other aspects related to aircraft.

One of the significant parts in aeronautics is a branch of physical science
Physical science
Physical science is an encompassing term for the branches of natural science and science that study non-living systems, in contrast to the life sciences...

 called aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

, which deals with the motion of air and the way that it interacts with objects in motion, such as an aircraft. Aviation
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

is a term sometimes used interchangeably with aeronautics, although "aeronautics" includes lighter-than-air craft such as airship
Airship
An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

s, and includes ballistic vehicles while "aviation" does not.

Early aeronautics

The first mention of aeronautics in history was in the writings of ancient Egyptians who described the flight of birds. It also finds mention in ancient China where people were flying kites thousands of years ago. The medieval Islamic scientists were not far behind, as they understood the actual mechanism of bird flight. Before scientific investigation of aeronautics started, people started thinking of ways to fly. In a Greek legend, Icarus
Icarus
-Space and astronomy:* Icarus , on the Moon* Icarus , a planetary science journal* 1566 Icarus, an asteroid* IKAROS, a interplanetary unmanned spacecraft...

 and his father Daedalus
Daedalus
In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a skillful craftsman and artisan.-Family:...

 built wings of feathers and wax and flew out of a prison. Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he fell in the sea and drowned. When people started to scientifically study how to fly, people began to understand the basics of air and aerodynamics. Ibn Firnas may have tried to fly in 8th century in Cordoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

, Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

.

Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon, O.F.M. , also known as Doctor Mirabilis , was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods...

 and Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 were some of the first modern Europeans to study aeronautics. Leonardo studied the flight of birds in developing engineering schematics for some of the earliest flying machines in the late fifteenth century AD. His schematics, however, such as the Ornithopter
Ornithopter
An ornithopter is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings. Designers seek to imitate the flapping-wing flight of birds, bats, and insects. Though machines may differ in form, they are usually built on the same scale as these flying creatures. Manned ornithopters have also been built, and some...

 ultimately failed as practical aircraft. The flapping machines that he designed were either too small to generate sufficient lift, or too heavy for a human to operate.

Although the ornithopter continues to be of interest to hobbyists, it was replaced by the glider in the 19th century. Sir George Cayley was one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics. Many consider him the first true scientific aerial investigator and the first person to understand the underlying principles and forces of flight. A pioneer of aeronautical engineering, he is credited as the first person to separate the forces of lift
Lift (force)
A fluid flowing past the surface of a body exerts a surface force on it. Lift is the component of this force that is perpendicular to the oncoming flow direction. It contrasts with the drag force, which is the component of the surface force parallel to the flow direction...

 and drag
Drag (physics)
In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces which act on a solid object in the direction of the relative fluid flow velocity...

 which are in effect on any flight vehicle,

Francesco Lana de Terzi
Francesco Lana de Terzi
Francesco Lana de Terzi was an Italian Jesuit, mathematician, naturalist and aeronautics pioneer...

, a 17th century Jesuit professor of physics and mathematics from Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

, Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

, has been referred to as the Father of Aeronautics. In his work Prodromo dell'Arte Maestra (1670) he proposes a lighter-than-air
Vacuum airship
A vacuum airship, also known as a vacuum balloon, is a hypothetical airship that is evacuated rather than filled with a lighter than air gas such as hydrogen or helium...

 vessel based on logical deductions from previous work ranging from Archimedes
Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an...

 and Euclid
Euclid
Euclid , fl. 300 BC, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". He was active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I...

 to his contemporaries Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

 and Otto von Guericke
Otto von Guericke
Otto von Guericke was a German scientist, inventor, and politician...

.

Early aviation research

Many cultures have built devices that travel through the air, from the earliest projectiles such as stones and spears., the boomerang
Boomerang
A boomerang is a flying tool with a curved shape used as a weapon or for sport.-Description:A boomerang is usually thought of as a wooden device, although historically boomerang-like devices have also been made from bones. Modern boomerangs used for sport are often made from carbon fibre-reinforced...

 in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the hot air Kongming lantern, and kite
Kite
A kite is a tethered aircraft. The necessary lift that makes the kite wing fly is generated when air flows over and under the kite's wing, producing low pressure above the wing and high pressure below it. This deflection also generates horizontal drag along the direction of the wind...

s. There are early legends of human flight such as the story of Icarus
Icarus
-Space and astronomy:* Icarus , on the Moon* Icarus , a planetary science journal* 1566 Icarus, an asteroid* IKAROS, a interplanetary unmanned spacecraft...

, and Jamshid
Jamshid
Jamshid is a mythological figure of Greater Iranian culture and tradition.In tradition and folklore, Jamshid is described as having been the fourth and greatest king of the epigraphically unattested Pishdadian dynasty . This role is already alluded to in Zoroastrian scripture Jamshid (Middle-...

 in Persian myth, and later, somewhat more credible claims of short-distance human flights appear, such as the flying automaton of Archytas
Archytas
Archytas was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato....

 of Tarentum
Taranto
Taranto is a coastal city in Apulia, Southern Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Taranto and is an important commercial port as well as the main Italian naval base....

 (428–347 BC), the winged flights of Abbas Ibn Firnas
Abbas Ibn Firnas
Abbas Ibn Firnas , also known as Abbas Qasim Ibn Firnas and عباس بن فرناس , was a Muslim Andalusian polymath: an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet, and Andalusian musician. Of Berber descent, he was born in Izn-Rand Onda, Al-Andalus , and lived in the Emirate of Córdoba...

 (810–887), Eilmer of Malmesbury
Eilmer of Malmesbury
Eilmer of Malmesbury was an 11th-century English Benedictine monk best known for his early attempt at a gliding flight using wings.- Life :...

 (11th century), and the hot-air Passarola of Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão (1685–1724).

The modern age of aviation began with the first untethered human lighter-than-air flight on November 21, 1783, in a hot air balloon
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

 designed by the Montgolfier brothers
Montgolfier brothers
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier were the inventors of the montgolfière-style hot air balloon, globe aérostatique. The brothers succeeded in launching the first manned ascent, carrying Étienne into the sky...

. The practicality of balloons was limited because they could only be controlled vertically. It was immediately recognized that a steerable, or dirigible
Airship
An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

, balloon was required. Jean-Pierre Blanchard
Jean-Pierre Blanchard
Jean-Pierre Blanchard , aka Jean Pierre François Blanchard, was a French inventor, most remembered as a pioneer in aviation and ballooning....

 flew the first human-powered dirigible in 1784 and crossed the English Channel in one in 1785.

In 1799 Sir George Cayley set forth the concept of the modern airplane as a fixed-wing flying machine with separate systems for lift, propulsion, and control. Early dirigible developments included machine-powered propulsion (Henri Giffard
Henri Giffard
Henri Giffard was a French engineer. In 1852 he invented the steam injector and the powered airship.-Career:Baptiste Henri Jacques Giffard was born in Paris in 1825...

, 1852), rigid frames (David Schwarz
David Schwarz (aviation inventor)
David Schwarz was a Hungarian aviation pioneer of Jewish descent.Schwarz created the first flyable rigid airship. It was also the first airship with an external hull made entirely of metal. He died before he could see it finally fly...

, 1896), and improved speed and maneuverability (Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont
Alberto Santos-Dumont , was a Brazilian early pioneer of aviation. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos Dumont dedicated himself to science studies in Paris, France, where he spent most of his adult life....

, 1901)

Early aviation

While there are many competing claims
First flying machine
There are conflicting views as to what was the first flying machine.Much of the debate surrounding records of early flying machines depends on the exact definition of what constitutes a "flying machine", "flight", and even "first"....

 for the earliest powered, heavier-than-air flight, the most widely-accepted date is December 17, 1903 by the Wright brothers. The Wright brothers were the first to fly in a powered and controlled aircraft. Previous flights were gliders (control but no power) or free flight (power but no control), but the Wright brothers combined both, setting the new standard in aviation records. Following this, the widespread adoption of aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

s versus wing warping made aircraft much easier to control, and only a decade later, at the start of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, heavier-than-air powered aircraft had become practical for reconnaissance, artillery spotting, and even attacks against ground positions.

Aircraft began to transport people and cargo as designs grew larger and more reliable. In contrast to small non-rigid blimps
Non-rigid airship
A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is a floating airship without an internal supporting framework or keel. A non-rigid airship differs from a semi-rigid airship and a rigid airship in that it does not have any rigid structure, neither a complete framework nor a partial keel, to help the airbag...

, giant rigid airship
Rigid airship
A rigid airship is a type of airship in which the envelope retained its shape by the use of an internal structural framework rather than by being forced into shape by the pressure of the lifting gas within the envelope as used in blimps and semi-rigid airships.Rigid airships were produced and...

s became the first aircraft to transport passengers and cargo over great distances. The best known aircraft of this type were manufactured by the German Zeppelin
Zeppelin
A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. It was based on designs he had outlined in 1874 and detailed in 1893. His plans were reviewed by committee in 1894 and patented in the United States on 14 March 1899...

 company.
The most successful Zeppelin was the Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin
LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a German built and operated passenger-carrying hydrogen-filled rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a Graf or Count in the German nobility. During its operating life,...

. It flew over one million miles, including an around-the-world flight in August 1929. However, the dominance of the Zeppelins over the aeroplanes of that period, which had a range of only a few hundred miles, was diminishing as aeroplane design advanced. The "Golden Age" of the airships ended on May 6, 1937 when the Hindenburg caught fire, killing 36 people. Although there have been periodic initiatives to revive their use, airships have seen only niche application since that time.

Great progress was made in the field of aviation during the 1920s and 1930s, such as Charles Lindbergh's
Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S...

 solo transatlantic flight in 1927, and Charles Kingsford Smith
Charles Kingsford Smith
Sir Charles Edward Kingsford Smith MC, AFC , often called by his nickname Smithy, was an early Australian aviator. In 1928, he earned global fame when he made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia...

's transpacific flight the following year. One of the most successful designs of this period was the Douglas DC-3
Douglas DC-3
The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

, which became the first airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

 that was profitable carrying passengers exclusively, starting the modern era of passenger airline service. By the beginning of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, many towns and cities had built space, and there were numerous qualified pilots available. The war brought many innovations to aviation, including the first jet aircraft and the first liquid-fueled rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

s.

Modern aviation

After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, especially in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, there was a boom in general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

, both private and commercial, as thousands of pilots were released from military service and many inexpensive war-surplus transport and training aircraft became available. Manufacturers such as Cessna
Cessna
The Cessna Aircraft Company is an airplane manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, USA. Their main products are general aviation aircraft. Although they are the most well known for their small, piston-powered aircraft, they also produce business jets. The company is a subsidiary...

, Piper
The New Piper Aircraft
Piper Aircraft, Inc., is a manufacturer of general aviation aircraft, located at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport in Vero Beach, Florida. Along with Beechcraft and Cessna, it is considered one of the "Big Three" in the field of general aviation construction....

, and Beechcraft
Beechcraft
Beechcraft is an American manufacturer of general aviation and military aircraft, ranging from light single engine aircraft to business jets and light military transports. Previously a division of Raytheon, it has been a brand of Hawker Beechcraft since 2006....

 expanded production to provide light aircraft for the new middle-class market.

By the 1950s, the development of civil jets grew, beginning with the de Havilland Comet
De Havilland Comet
The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design...

, though the first widely-used passenger jet was the Boeing 707
Boeing 707
The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

, because it was much more economical than other planes at the time. At the same time, turboprop
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

 propulsion began to appear for smaller commuter planes, making it possible to serve small-volume routes in a much wider range of weather conditions.

Since the 1960s, composite
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

 airframes and quieter, more efficient engines have become available, and Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 provided supersonic passenger service for more than two decades, but the most important lasting innovations have taken place in instrumentation and control. The arrival of solid-state
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

 electronics, the Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

, satellite communications
Communications satellite
A communications satellite is an artificial satellite stationed in space for the purpose of telecommunications...

, and increasingly small and powerful computer
Computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

s and LED
Light-emitting diode
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting...

 displays, have dramatically changed the cockpits of airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s and, increasingly, of smaller aircraft as well. Pilots can navigate much more accurately and view terrain, obstructions, and other nearby aircraft on a map or through synthetic vision
Synthetic vision
A Synthetic Vision System is a computer-mediated reality system for aerial vehicles, that uses 3D to provide pilots with clear and intuitive means of understanding their flying environment....

, even at night or in low visibility.

On June 21, 2004, Space Ship One became the first privately funded aircraft to make a spaceflight
Spaceflight
Spaceflight is the act of travelling into or through outer space. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft which may, or may not, have humans on board. Examples of human spaceflight include the Russian Soyuz program, the U.S. Space shuttle program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station...

, opening the possibility of an aviation market capable of leaving the Earth's atmosphere. Meanwhile, flying prototypes of aircraft powered by alternative fuels, such as ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

, electricity
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

, and even solar energy, are becoming more common and may soon enter the mainstream, at least for light aircraft.

Rocketry

A rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 or rocket vehicle is a missile
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

, spacecraft, aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 or other vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 which obtains thrust
Thrust
Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newton's second and third laws. When a system expels or accelerates mass in one direction the accelerated mass will cause a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction on that system....

 from a rocket engine
Rocket engine
A rocket engine, or simply "rocket", is a jet engineRocket Propulsion Elements; 7th edition- chapter 1 that uses only propellant mass for forming its high speed propulsive jet. Rocket engines are reaction engines and obtain thrust in accordance with Newton's third law...

. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellant
Propellant
A propellant is a material that produces pressurized gas that:* can be directed through a nozzle, thereby producing thrust ;...

s carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction
Reaction (physics)
The third of Newton's laws of motion of classical mechanics states that forces always occur in pairs. Every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction. This principle is commonly known in the Latin language as actio et reactio. The attribution of which of the two...

. Rocket engines push rockets forwards simply by throwing their exhaust backwards extremely fast.

Rockets for military and recreational uses date back to at least 13th century China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. Significant scientific, interplanetary and industrial use did not occur until the 20th century, when rocketry was the enabling technology of the Space Age
Space Age
The Space Age is a time period encompassing the activities related to the Space Race, space exploration, space technology, and the cultural developments influenced by these events. The Space Age is generally considered to have begun with Sputnik...

, including setting foot on the moon
Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...

.

Rockets are used for fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

, weaponry, ejection seats, launch vehicle
Launch vehicle
In spaceflight, a launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket used to carry a payload from the Earth's surface into outer space. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, the launch pad and other infrastructure....

s for artificial satellites, human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 and exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

 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
Escape velocity
In physics, escape velocity is the speed at which the kinetic energy plus the gravitational potential energy of an object is zero gravitational potential energy is negative since gravity is an attractive force and the potential is defined to be zero at infinity...

 with reasonable efficiency.

Chemical rockets are the most common type of rocket and they typically create their exhaust by the combustion of rocket propellant
Rocket propellant
Rocket propellant is mass that is stored in some form of propellant tank, prior to being used as the propulsive mass that is ejected from a rocket engine in the form of a fluid jet to produce thrust. A fuel propellant is often burned with an oxidizer propellant to produce large volumes of very hot...

. 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 minimizes risks.

See also

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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