Rocket science: What makes a rocket fly?

V2 missile launch at Cuxhaven
V2 missile at X + 2 seconds after launch during British tests for Project Backfire in Cuxhaven, Germany in 1945.

In this short video we take a look at some basic rocket science and answer the question: What makes a rocket fly?

How does the rocket achieve its unique form of flight?

And what is it that is so different about rocket flight that makes it stand out as unique in the category of all flying machines? In the video, we explain how and why the rocket powered missile is able to fly in the air, in the vacuum of space, and even under water.  The answer often surprises people with both its simplicity and its odd familiarity. Rocket science is sometimes simpler than you may think – and we promise you won’t need your calculator to understand our explanation.

This important but easy to understand rocket science, and it applies to all rocket missiles, large and small

Although this website is all about the A4-V2 missile, this video deals with the behaviour of all rocket powered missiles from November the 5th and July 4th garden fireworks to the Space Shuttle as well as the giant Saturn V that lifted the Apollo missions to the Moon. The A4-V2 long-range ballistic missile (short-range by today’s standards!) was a significant technological breakthrough achieved during WWII by Germany and later formed the post-war foundation for the early exploration of sub-orbital space by the USA and the USSR, as well as other allied nations, that shared in the spoils of Nazi Germany’s advanced aerospace technology. Presented by Robert J Dalby FRAS

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About V2 Rocket History 10 Articles
At V2 Rocket History our aim is to investigate the history and technology of the A4-V2 missile, and share the results in the most accessible and engaging way possible. Our general approach is to highlight the engineering and industrial aspects of the subject.