A rocket is a vehicle that obtains thrust from a rocket engine. Rocket engine exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction. Rocket engines push rockets forward by expelling their exhaust in the opposite direction at high speed. Rockets rely on momentum, airfoils, auxiliary reaction engines, gimballed thrust, momentum wheels, deflection of the exhaust stream, propellant flow, spin, and/or gravity to help control flight. Therefore, unlike missiles, rockets are not truly guided.
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 an atmosphere and can work well in space.
Significant scientific, interplanetary and industrial use on Terra did not occur until the 20th century CE, when rocketry was the enabling technology for the Space Age. Rockets are now used for fireworks, weaponry, launch vehicles for artificial satellites, human spaceflight, and space exploration.
Chemical rockets are the most common type of high power rocket, typically creating a high speed exhaust by the combustion of fuel with an oxidizer. The stored propellant can be a simple pressurized gas or a single liquid that disassociates in the presence of a catalyst (monopropellants), two liquids that spontaneously react on contact (hypergolic propellants), two liquids that must be ignited to react, a solid combination of one or more fuels with one or more oxidizers (solid fuel), or solid fuel with liquid oxidant (hybrid propellant system). 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.