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How a rocket works

Most rockets have very few external parts, though internally some of them are extremely complicated. The body which encases the inner parts of a rocket is known as the air frame. This houses the combustion chamber, the fuel tanks, the devices by which the rocket is guided, and the nose cone. The nose cone, which is located at the upper tip of the rocket, is where the warhead or payload is carried. At the lower end of the rocket are the exhaust nozĀ­zles through which the propelling jets of gases escape. Rockets vary in shape and size, no two being alike.

Some are tall and slim; others are short and stubby. Some have wings and fins and resemble jet fighter planes, while others look like enormous bullets. The Titan is a United States Air Force surface-to-surface intercontinental ballistic missile. This two-stage rocket is launched by a 300,000-pound-thrust engine which separates and falls away when burned out. A second engine, with a thrust of 80,000 pounds, then drives the rocket into space at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour.

Both engines are liquid-fueled. The Titan, which is made of aluminum, is larger than the Atlas, but is lighter, weighing 220,000 pounds. Its length is 98 feet and it has a diameter of 10 feet. The first flight of the Titan was made on February 6, 1959.


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