Related topics: space shuttle

Europe's new rocket set for political launch

Members of the European Space Agency (ESA) were hammering out details Tuesday of an eight-billion-euro ($10-billion), 10-year rocket programme with a new Ariane 6 launcher at its heart.

After wrangle, Europe set to approve Ariane 6 launcher

After a two-year debate sparked by the emergence of low-cost competition, European space nations on Tuesday are likely to back plans to build a new rocket, the Ariane 6, say sources.

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Solid-fuel rocket

A solid rocket or a solid-fuel rocket is a rocket with a motor that uses solid propellants (fuel/oxidizer). The earliest rockets were solid fueled, powered by gunpowder, used by the Chinese and Arabs in warfare as early as the 13th century. All rockets used some form of solid or powdered propellant up until the 20th century, when liquid rockets and hybrid rockets offered more efficient and controllable alternatives. Solid rockets are still used today in model rockets, and on larger applications for their simplicity and reliability. Since solid fuel rockets can remain in storage for long periods—and then reliably launch on short notice—they have been frequently used in military applications such as missiles. Solid fuel rockets are unusual as primary propulsion in modern space exploration, but are commonly used as booster rockets.

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