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Rocket schematic


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A rocket was a form of spacecraft propulsion, usually used when a society began the early stages of space flight. It was simple, and could be constructed from easily available materials. Rocket engines could also be used in a wide range of other applications, from fireworks to weapons.

Uses of rockets

Rockets are rarely used in societies which have attained warp and/or impulse travel, although they occasionally find uses in small applications such as boosters for gravity boots. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) A rocket has a limited maximum speed – it can only travel as fast as exhaust gases are ejected, which in practical terms means that a rocket cannot go faster than about 0.25c (i.e. one quarter of the speed of light). Since the force of a rocket depends on the number, speed and mass of the exhaust gas particles, rockets are also impractical for propelling large vehicles, in contrast to fusion-powered impulse engines (especially those with driver coils, such as those found aboard a Template:ShipClass starship).

In 2151 Commander Tucker referred to the risky job astronauts did with the use of rockets: In the old days, astronauts rode rockets with millions of litres of hydrogen burning under their seats. You think they said, gee I'd love to go to the moon today but it seems a little risky?. (ENT: "Silent Enemy")

The quick replacement of rockets by more advanced systems was in stark contrast with what Human science fiction writers had envisioned; Rocket ships were a staple of early science fiction stories, and could often be seen on the cover of genre magazines like Galaxy or Incredible Tales. (DS9: "Far Beyond the Stars")

Significant rockets

Due to their simplicity, rockets are a common form of propulsion for a society's first space flights. Although possibly indicative of a low technological level, they have been encountered in both the 23rd and 24th centuries. The USS Enterprise, for example, encountered a rocket-propelled missile in 2268. (TOS: "Patterns of Force")

One of the most famous rockets in Earth history was the Phoenix, Zefram Cochrane's first warp-powered spacecraft. Although the Phoenix itself was powered by an early warp drive, it had to be boosted into Earth orbit by a chemical rocket (which was, at that time, the only practical launch system available). The booster Cochrane used for his historic flight was modified from a Titan II nuclear missile. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Early in her career, the USS Enterprise was also equipped with rockets that could be used to escape planetary orbit in the event of an emergency. (TOS: "The Cage")

See also

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