• Question: what type of metal is a rocket made of?

    Asked by 8P form to Anne, Beth, COLFlight, Jon, Tom on 14 Oct 2015. This question was also asked by Gravity Girl.
    • Photo: Columbus Flight Directors

      Columbus Flight Directors answered on 14 Oct 2015:

      When you want to fly in space, you want to have something that is resistant and also light at the same time. Very strong metals like steel are very heavy, so we tend to avoid them.

      As for airplanes, the most used metal is Aluminum. We usually don’t use it pure, but we use specific alloys in which we add small percentages of other metals that make the Aluminum stronger without increasing the weight too much.

      Other than metal, as new technlogies have developed, we also use a lot of composite materials, like carbon fiber. These are even lighter than Aluminum, but not as resistant.

      Rockets are normally made of both Aluminum alloys and composite materials.