Science: Solid-Fuel Controls

Solid-fuel rockets are the dream weapons of military rocketeers. They have no pumps or valves to go wrong and are always ready to fire. Their big trouble is that they are harder to control than liquid-fuel rockets, whose small combustion chambers, fed by flexible pipes, can be mounted on gimbals. When a liquid-fuel rocket takes off, it can switch its gas jet from side to side, correcting any tendency to veer off course. But solid-fuel rockets have no separate combustion chamber, only a nozzle to form the gases into a high-speed jet. Usually the...

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