Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Launching spacecraft
Name: j middle school
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

How do space ships get off the ground?

Gravity pulls on any object near the earth, including you, and a spaceship. To get off the ground, you have to push yourself up harder than the earth is pulling you down. When you jump in the air, you are pushing against the ground. When a bird flies, it is pushing against the air with its wings. A spaceship (or rocket) pushes against its exhaust - the stuff that comes out the back. Just as if you were sitting on a swing and threw a baseball forward, you would move backwards. The harder you throw the baseball, the more you will move. In the same way a rocket throws hot gasses out the back and pushes itself forward. If it pushes hard enough, it "blasts off". If it keeps pushing hard enough, it keeps going higher.

daniel n koury jr

Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory