Reference Terms
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spacecraft propulsion

Spacecraft propulsion is used to change the velocity of spacecraft and artificial satellites, or in short, to provide delta-v.

There are many different methods.

Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research.

Most spacecraft today are propelled by heating the reaction mass and allowing it to flow out the back of the vehicle.

This sort of engine is called a rocket engine.

All current spacecraft use chemical rocket (bipropellant or solid-fuel) for launch.

Artificial satellites must be launched into orbit, and once there they must be placed in their nominal orbit.

Once in the desired orbit, they often need some form of attitude control so that they are correctly pointed with respect to the Earth, the Sun, and possibly some astronomical object of interest.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Spacecraft propulsion", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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