, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 65–68

How does rocket propulsion work?



The most common answer to the above question is — hot jet of gas comes out of the nozzle of the rocket engine at high speeds and as a reaction the rocket moves (is propelled) in the opposite direction [1]. But is this answer right? Let us explore what goes on inside a rocket engine and arrive at the right answer.


Propulsion thrust reaction 


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Suggested Reading

  1. [1]
    Gilbert Rowell and Sidney Herbert, Physics, Cambridge University Press, pp.80–81, 1987. (Though many physics textbooks give similar explanations, this above text is picked purely at random)Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    G K Batchelor, Introduction to Fluid Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    George P Sutton, Oscar Biblarz, Rocket propulsion elements, 7th ed., Wiley, 2000.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Martin J L Turner, Rocket and Spacecraft Propulsion, 3rd ed., Springer, 2009.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Jack D Mattingly, Elements of propulsion, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., 2006.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    V Sharadha and Jaywant H Arakeri, Propulsion of the Putt-Putt Boat — I, Resonance, Vol.9, No.6, pp.66–73, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    V Sharadha, Propulsion of the Putt-Putt Boat — II, Resonance, Vol.9, No.7, pp.64–69, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghatkopar (East) MumbaiIndia

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