A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle that obtains thrust from a rocket engine. Rocket engine exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use.[1] Rocket engines work by action and reaction. Rocket engines push rockets forward simply by throwing their exhaust backwards extremely fast.

While comparatively inefficient for low speed use, rockets are relatively lightweight and powerful, capable of generating large accelerations and of attaining extremely high speeds with reasonable efficiency. Rockets are not reliant on the atmosphere and work very well in space.

Rockets for military and recreational uses date back to at least 13th century China.[2] Significant scientific, interplanetary and industrial use did not occur until the 20th century, when rocketry was the enabling technology of the Space Age, including setting foot on the moon. Rockets are now used for fireworks, weaponry, ejection seats, launch vehicles for artificial satellites, human spaceflight, and space exploration.

Chemical rockets are the most common type of rocket[citation needed] and they typically create their exhaust by the combustion of rocket propellant. Chemical rockets store a large amount of energy in an easily released form, and can be very dangerous. However, careful design, testing, construction and use minimizes risks.
Some military weapons use rockets to propel warheads to their targets. A rocket and its payload together are generally referred to as a missile when the weapon has a guidance system (not all missiles use rocket engines, some use other engines such as jets) or as a rocket if it is unguided. Anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles use rocket engines to engage targets at high speed at a range of several miles, while intercontinental ballistic missiles can be used to deliver multiple nuclear warheads from thousands of miles, and anti-ballistic missiles try to stop them.

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