Chemical Rocket Engine

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chemical Rocket Engine


a rocket engine in which the chemical energy of a propellant is used to produce thrust. It is the principal type of rocket engine.

The propellant may be liquid, solid, or hybrid. Accordingly, chemical rocket engines are classified as liquid-propellant, solid-propellant, or hybrid. For auxiliary spacecraft systems, chemical engines have also been developed that use the vapor of a liquid propellant, the gases liberated in the electrolysis of water, or a gaseous monopropellant.

Propulsion systems incorporating chemical rocket engines have thrusts that range from fractions of a newton to tens of meganewtons. The specific impulse may be as high as 5 kilonewton-seconds per kilogram (kN · sec/kg), a value obtained with experimental engines that burn fluorine/lithium/hydrogen propellant. The development of propellants based on free atoms and radicals or on excited atoms and molecules should increase the specific impulse of chemical rocket engines to 10–20 kN · sec/kg.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Today, chemical rocket engines still provide the only means to boost payloads into orbit and beyond.
(Another note: though nuclear-propelled spacecraft could attain higher speeds than possible with conventional chemical rocket engines, they would take days or weeks to accelerate, making such propulsion of limited interest to military engineers.

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