How Do Spaceships Move In Space?

When the Wright Brothers first made a flying airplane, they never assume that earthlings will someday think of going beyond our air zone to fly in outer space. While planes were made with propellers that push the air to move forward, a rocket requires different means of propelling forward in space where there is no air to push against. So how do spaceships move in space? Continue reading to find out.

How Do Spaceships Move in Space?

Spaceships are often launched into space from their launch pad. Traveling from Earth’s surface to the Kármán line is a lot easier for the spaceship. However, once the spaceship arrives in space, moving forward becomes challenging. But space agencies often deploy the third law of Newton (which states for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) to move the spaceship forward. The operation mechanism is quite simple.

Space agencies often apply a force in one direction to propel the spaceship in another direction. While the third law of Newton explains how spaceships move in space, space agencies still use the best technologies in building their spaceships to ensure that they travel seamlessly, without experiencing any challenges. Launching a rocket into space is an amazing milestone humanity has ever attained.

In recent times, spaceships are made in different sizes. Even though their shapes are quite different in recent times, modern rockets require thrust to liftoff from the ground. The rocket that space agencies launch into space consists of four major systems and they include the following.

Structural system

The structural system consists of the main frame that fits the entire component of the rocket and holds the spaceship together. This system contains the entire body of the rocket, nose cone, and fins.

Propulsion System

The propulsion system is made of the most important part of the spaceship. This system contains rocket engines, fuel, and oxidizers.

Payload System

The payload system highly depends on the target of the space agency for each mission. This system contains any item a rocket is propelling into space. Most payloads can be added to the rocket as spacecraft, crew, and satellites.

Guidance System

The guidance system is a crucial and sensitive part of a spaceship that provides stability for the rocket. It also regulates maneuvers during space flights. It is made up of radars, and computers.

How Spaceships Commence Their Journey to Space

Before a spaceship is launched into space, the space agency handling the mission must stack the rocket on the launch pad. A launch tower is usually mounted next to the spaceship to give it additional support. Four of the systems listed above must work together to ensure that the rocket lifts off successfully without suffering any failure. 

The launch commences with the rocket propulsion system igniting and generating a huge amount of thrust. Thrust is the force generated as exhaust fuel is burning through the engine. Most spaceship generates more thrust than their weight, then they will lift into the air and commence with the power ascent.

During the power ascent stage, the weight of the rocket will frequently change as more fuel burns out through the engine. Most modern spaceships often undergo staging to separate heavier parts of the rocket to maintain stability and boost efficiency at this stage. The staging method involves separating a large rocket into two or three smaller rockets falling off at different stages of the launch.

The main rocket carrying the payload will continue its journey into space. It will use its powerful guidance system to maintain balance and keep the flight trajectory on the right track. When it achieves its accurate attitude and speed, the upper-stage engine will stop burning fuel. This will complete the rocket journey from Earth to space.


After the first modern chemical propulsion system was invented in 1926, it took humanity only a few decades to put humans on the moon using more advanced rockets. However, despite the milestone we have attained so far, we are just getting started with exploring space with rockets. So how do spaceships move in space? You can learn how spaceships propel in space when you read this article.

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