Rockets 101 | National Geographic
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Rockets 101 | National Geographic

December 13, 2019


– [Narrator] The ground begins to tremble. – [Announcer] Three. – [Narrator] Massive engines roar to life. – [Announcer] Two. – [Narrator] Billowing clouds of exhaust. – [Announcer] One. – [Narrator] And then a
blinding pillar of fire. – [Announcer] Liftoff. We have a liftoff. – [Narrator] A mighty voyager
leaves the Earth behind to explore the vast
universe among the stars. Launching a rocket into space is one of humankind’s
crowning achievements. Although they come in many
different shapes and sizes, all rockets are propelled by
engines that produce thrust. The rockets that launch into space are made up of four major
systems, based on function. The structural system makes up the frame that holds the rocket together and consists of the cylindrical
body, nose cone, and fins. Next, the propulsion system takes up the most amount of space and includes the rocket
engine, fuel, and oxidizer. The payload system depends on each mission and consists of anything a
rocket is carrying into space, like a spacecraft,
satellite, or human being. Lastly, the guidance
system is made up of radars and computers that provide
stability for the rocket and control maneuvers in flight. In order to launch into space, all four of these rocket
systems must work together to overcome the force of gravity. The launch begins when the
rocket’s propulsion system starts to generate a
massive amount of thrust. Thrust is the force
produced by burning fuel as exhaust gases escape
through the engine. Once the rocket generates more
thrust than its own weight, it lifts into the air to
begin its powered ascent. During this phase of the flight, the weight of the rocket
will constantly change as fuel continues to burn off. As a result, most spacebound rockets use a technique called staging to reduce dead weight
and increase efficiency. The method involves
breaking off a large rocket into two or three smaller rockets that fall away at different
stages of the launch. As the rocket continues into orbit, its sophisticated guidance
system maintains balance and steers to keep the
flight trajectory on track. At the correct altitude and speed, the upper stage engine cuts off, completing the rocket’s journey from Earth’s surface into orbit. Long before blasting into space, rockets were used here on Earth as early as the 13th century. The first known rockets were
introduced by the Chinese in 1232 A.D. These fire arrows were used to
fight against invading armies and were made by attaching
fireworks packed with gunpowder to long arrows. By the 16th century, the
use of rockets for amusement had spread from Asia to Europe, where they gained popularity
in elaborate firework displays at celebrations and festivities. During the following centuries,
the work of scientists, like Isaac Newton and his Laws of Motion, began to greatly increase knowledge into the forces behind rocketry
and how to control them. And by the end of the 18th century, military forces around
the world began to apply these new scientific
understandings to the battlefield, transforming the earlier, crude rockets into powerful weapons of war. However, the true dawn of space rocketry began in the early 20th century, thanks to massive
technological improvements in rocket science and aeronautics. By the 1950s, the stage was
set for the modern space age, and development began on sophisticated launch vehicle systems like the Atlas rocket family, which launched America’s
first astronaut into orbit, the Titan rockets, which were behind the
pivotal Gemini missions during the Space Race, and
the Saturn rocket family, which includes the largest
and most powerful rocket ever successfully launched,
the mighty Saturn V. Standing as high as a 36-story building and weighing more than 3,000 tons, this behemoth was used to launch the Apollo missions to the moon. – We choose to go to the moon
not because they are easy, but because they are hard. – [Narrator] Since the
beginning of human history, adventurers have looked at the skies and dreamt of touching the stars. And today, innovations in rocketry are opening up possibilities
to launch astronauts farther into space than ever before. Whether our sights are set
on the moon, Mars, or beyond, the future of rocketry
and space exploration is only just blasting off.

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  1. Long before blasting into space, rockets were used here on Earth as early as the 13th century. What are your thoughts on their use throughout history?

  2. The narrator didn't speak well as before, also the role of the Germans (1939 – 1945) in the development of the missile was ignored . No reference to Wernher von Braun ( NASA engineering program manager – chief architect of the Apollo – Saturn V rocket ) ?!? ?

  3. 2:11 Maybe the concept of staging should have been illustrated by something else than the single-stage V2 rocket? 🙂

  4. I'm just wondering why you used the German v-2 rocket as your demonstration model, it never orbited the Earth and it was a weapon during World War II that Hitler used on England and the allies.

  5. The development of humanities has made everyone feel proud humans have surpassed their limits in every era in every century these traits have made humans to do something beyond their limits proud to be a Human

  6. Please make videos on elements and groups of periodic table in your 101 series..
    P.S.- Just loveeee this series of yours…so helpful and informative ?

  7. When is rocket 102 coming?
    Moon landing was faked.
    2:18 Don't you think that explanation is lacking just a bit? I mean.. I can say: "A laser pointer takes batteries. It's sophisticated systems creates the laser beam"

  8. The mere fact that mankind is leaving the Earth and heading into faraway space through a spacecraft, the total collection of human science and technology, makes your heart overflow. I want to be an aerospace engineer and join the project to make a spaceship. Wouldn't one day mankind be able to reach another planet?

  9. I feel like sad knowing that the continuing discovery of space is endless and I couldn't able to see how far it would be just bcoz of our short lifetime.

  10. Space science is an important part of modern science and is the part that many people are investing in for development. Spacecraft is needed above all else to explore the universe, and because the universe is far more uncharted than we can simply imagine, spacecraft production must be more meticulous and sure than others. I want to go to space by spaceship.

  11. "We choose to go to the moon not because they are easy, but because they are hard"

    Is that like every saying that people talk when travelling to the moon? So motivational (sarcasm)

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