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Tristan Curry Do-It-Yourself Podcast "Rocket Science" Transcript
A rocket is a launch vehicle. It can also be a space capsule, usually in the form of a cylinder or a tubelike structure that launches from the Earth. And it can be used to carry humans into space. It can also be used to carry supplies such as cargo, food, materials or anything that can be carried to the International Space Station (because we do have astronauts that live on the space station, and they need supplies and everything to live and to work up there). It can also be used as something to launch satellites into the orbit that the military may use or that NASA may use, or it can even be a satellite.

All rockets need to have some form of a body or structure to house all the components of it. And most of them are usually in the shape of a tube or a cylinderlike structure. They also need to have a form of a propellant system, which is the fuel system that ignites and produces thrust to get it off the ground. They also need to have aerodynamic components, which are components of the rocket such as a nose cone or fins or wings. It needs to have all of those to be able to make sure that it gets to its desired target in the most efficient and quickest way possible.

(The) propellant system ... is one the most important parts of the rocket. That's going to house your fuel system, your engines, and it’s going to produce ... thrust and ... velocity to actually get off the ground.

First of all, you have (the) body of your rocket, which is your main structure, and it's going to be used to house all the components of the rocket. And it's going to carry your cargo, if you're going to use it for cargo. It's going to carry ... humans, if you're intending to carry humans into space. It's going to house all the wires and the computer system and everything. It's going to be your main structure of the rocket.

(The) nose cone is going to function as a part of the rocket that is going to reduce your air resistance. An example of that is if you're in a swimming pool and you're swimming across the top of it, and you move your hand across the top of it. You're going to incur a lot of resistance from the water. Which if a rocket had a nose cone on top of it built like this, it would incur a lot of air resistance. But if you move your hand through the water like this, you hardly incur any resistance at all. So a nose cone on the rocket is made to reduce air resistance because if you have high air resistance on the front of your rocket, you're going to have to have larger engines and more power to get it to where it's intended to go.

The fins help maintain the stability of the rocket as it flies. If you don't have any fins, it's liable to bobble and everything as it flies through the air. So (the fins are) definitely going to help reach its intended target.

Thrust is actually the force that gets you off the ground that is produced from the fuels mixing in the engine and combusting and flowing out the nozzle at a high velocity. And that force that pushes back down on the ground is the thrust that you need for the rocket to actually get off the ground and launch into orbit.

You're always going to try to overcome gravity to move against that force that is holding us down on the Earth.

Isaac Newton came up with three laws of motion. The first one is that an object will remain at rest unless acted on by an outside force. The second one is force equals mass times acceleration. And then the third one is for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

With the first one, an object such as a rocket will remain on the Earth until acted on by an outside force, such as the force from the engines that are going to push it off of the Earth.

For force equals mass times acceleration, you need to calculate the amount of force that's needed to accelerate the rocket off of the Earth's surface also due to its mass.

Then for the third one, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The forces are going to equal out that it's going to need to lift the rocket off the Earth compared to the amount of thrust that's needed. So as the rocket launches, the amount of thrust that's pushing down on the Earth is what is going to be pushing back up, up under it to get it off the Earth's surface.

Don't ever go out and build a model rocket or paper rocket and especially (don't) launch it without an adult present, such as a teacher, a parent or an older sibling, there to help you out to make sure that you are following all the safety procedures that need to be followed.

Consider the environment that you are going to be launching it in. If you're going to have a rocket that is intended to go extremely far ... probably wouldn't be the best thing to launch it in your neighborhood. Go out to an open field or something that is far away from other people or anything that it can endanger once it falls back to Earth.

Consider the materials that you are going to use. If you are going to use an engine that ignites, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to have a lot of paper components on the rocket such as your body, your wings, your nose cone or your fins because your rocket won't go very far because it could also, as soon as it ignites, catch on fire.

Always remember to keep weight at a minimum. You're always going to get to go a lot further if you're carrying less weight. So always try to research a way to decrease the amount of weight that your rocket is going to carry.

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