How to Design a Rocket


The general rule of thumb is that you need to be a rocket scientist to build a rocket. However, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to know the basics. Rockets are simple things, in theory. The tiny parts are where it gets tricky.

Design a Rocket

  • Decide on a material for your rocket's structure. You should find the strongest yet lightest material available to you. Titanium, magnesium and aluminum are good choices if you want to reach space. Plastic is good if you want to clear a house.

  • Build a cylinder using the chosen material. A more spherical shape is also acceptable, especially if the shape resembles a football. Whatever the shape built, the front end should be pointed or rounded off.

  • Accommodate any passengers who may ride in your rocket. Add a sealable door to the side of your cylinder and a compartment or two for the passenger to travel in. Remember to add a lead shield between any passengers and radiation, if needed.

  • Decide on the type of propulsion engine you will use for your rocket. Air propulsion can be accomplished with strong fans. Water propulsion can be accomplished with high water pressure. Any type of propulsion you can find will work, but a rocket engine will probably be needed to reach space.

  • Design your engine so that it is strong enough to lift the mass of your rocket at an acceleration greater than one G. G, the force of gravity, is 9.81 meters per second squared. If your engine cannot propel your rocket at an acceleration faster than G, your rocket will stall.

  • Add the propulsion engine to the bottom of your rocket. Aim the engine so the exhaust and propulsion force point directly (180 degrees) away from the rest of the rocket. Attach any needed fuel containers to the side in the most aerodynamic way possible.

  • Add fins to your rocket. Flat surfaces that have one axis perpendicular to your rocket and the other axis parallel to your rocket will help keep your rocket straight during takeoff.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will also need to build a structure to support the rocket during takeoff. This structure must keep the rocket pointed in the desired direction until the rocket has assumed the correct path. Depending on the propulsion method, this structure might be good for only one use.

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