Stages of a Rocket Launch

YOU Gateway to Space - - Contents -

Here’s how a rocket launches a cap­sule into space . . .

SPACE­CRAFT are not pow­er­ful enough to travel beyond Earth’s at­mos­phere on their own, so a rocket blasts them into space. Rock­ets are pow­er­ful ma­chines that can break free from Earth’s grav­ity to reach outer space.

There are two kinds of space­craft able to carry hu­mans: cap­sules and space­planes. Cap­sules are launched on top of a rocket, while planes can be launched in other ways. For ex­am­ple, the Space Shut­tle planes were at­tached to the side of rock­ets (see page 42) and SpaceShip Two, a plane that will soon start tak­ing tourists into space (read more on page 72) is launched by a sec­ond plane, White Knight.

Right now the only way as­tro­nauts can get to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, (ISS) is with a Rus­sian Soyuz (saw-yooz) cap­sule which launches on top of a Soyuz rocket. It takes about nine min­utes to reach space and six hours to get to the ISS. Take a look at the Soyuz rocket.

Hu­man to scale

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