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Q & A: 5 laws of rocketry?

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
What are the "5 laws of rocketry?" Our teacher said we had to know to make popbottle rockets but she wouldn’t tell us what they were.
- anna (age 11)
Anna- I never heard of these laws. I do want to rant a little about your teacher. Schools often make us learn things like 'the three types of magnets'. (I think the answer was 'horseshoe, bar, and refrigerator'.) Nature doesn’t really come all packaged in little lists, at least not at this level of things. The lists are kind of arbitrary. If your teacher wanted you to derive some mathematical results from some basic starting principles, I can see why she would make you figure it out yourself. If she just wants you to scrounge some arbitrary, cooked-up list, I don’t see why she doesn’t just help you out. But maybe she has some reason.

Mike W.

While Newton’s three laws are a starting point for all the physics, including your pop-bottle application, a big rocketry project requires some additional rules:

1) The project should be safe (this one applies to your pop-bottle rocket too!),

2) The project should not spend much more money than estimated when it was approved, and

3) The project should be completed on the advertised schedule.

These aren’t really laws of nature, just guidelines invented by people. They can be broken, but with sometimes disastrous consequences, many of which get in the newspapers. Please be careful!

Tom J.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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