• Question: some vehicles run on petrol, some vehicles run on dieasel. What does a rocket run on?

    Asked by Suvetha to Tom, Jon, COLFlight, Beth, Anne on 6 Oct 2015. This question was also asked by ultraleo, Daimena, Sheldon Cooper.
    • Photo: Columbus Flight Directors

      Columbus Flight Directors answered on 6 Oct 2015:

      Hi Suvetha!
      Rockets can run on many different fuels, the most used one is Kerosene.
      What is interesting is that to fly rockets, fuel is not enough, you also need an oxydizer.
      What does this mean?

      The combustion process is a chemical reaction between two components. In vehicles on Earth, one of the two components is the petrol/diesel and the other component is the oxygen in the atmosphere. That sounds easy, right?
      But when you fly in space, you don’t have any atmosphere, so where do you get the oxygen from? You’ll have to have to carry it with you, otherwise the fuel would have nothing to burn with!
      So rockets have normally two tanks: one for the fuel and one for the oxygen.

      Imagine how uncomfortable would it be for cars, if on top of petrol you also needed to refill oxygen when you go at the tank station! 😀

    • Photo: Beth Healey

      Beth Healey answered on 8 Oct 2015:

      Hi Suvetha!

      The ‘Cosmic Rocket’ runs on vinegar and baking powder! 🙂

      Other rockets require a little more power though and as Sergio say’s the most commonly used one is Kerosene.