About Rocketry

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About the NASA Education Rocketry Website

What is a rocket scientist?

When people think about jobs at NASA, certain careers come to mind first. Astronaut is almost always near the top of the list, often followed by the fabled "rocket scientist." The job title is almost mythical -- the gold standard for a challenging occupation. To put a task in perspective, a common expression is "Well, it's not rocket science." But, at NASA, it is.

Rockets have always been a big part of what NASA does, and someone has to make them fly. But what is a rocket scientist? The truth is, a lot of them are actually engineers -- men and women who take the raw science of Newtonian physics and apply it to design vehicles to launch things into space. As NASA research engineer Tom Benson put it, "Call them what you want, scientist or engineer. People who work on rockets have to eventually build an efficiently working piece of machinery that has many complex physical and chemical phenomena present that must be fully understood. The success of the rocket depends on the knowledge and experience of the builder." Do you have what it takes to earn the title of rocket scientist?

Things you can do on this site:
• Answer the question: What Is a Rocket?
• Investigate and learn about rockets at NASA.
• Learn the terms that the rocket scientists use.
• Watch and download video and multimedia features about rocketry.
• Learn about the history of rocketry.
• Check out lesson plans for your classroom.
• Stay up-to-date with information about NASA-supported rocketry competitions.
• Visit the Rocketry Image Gallery.
• Read about the careers of rocketry experts.
• Browse NASA websites for information about rocketry.

Page Last Updated: February 25th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator