Since Fire Needs Oxygen To Burn, How Do Rockets Work In Space?

We have learned in many experiments in our high school that a burning process requires the supply of Oxygen gas. When the oxygen supply is stopped, the burning process also ends. So, why doesn’t in rockets does their propulsion system fail when they are in the vacuum of space? How do they work in the absence of oxygen and travel in space?

Well, for the combustion process to take place, only two components are required namely – a fuel and an oxidizer. When a rocket goes into space, it is loaded with its own fuel and an oxidizer that can keep their propulsion system working even when there is no atmosphere to provide oxygen.


Moreover, it is not necessary to have a combustion process to propel the rocket into space; by ejecting some mass in the opposite direction also, the propulsion can take place.

The rocket movement happens along the principle of Newton’s Third Law of Motion – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Rockets propel and travel in space according to this theory.

Also Read: Why Do Wind Turbines Have Three Blades?

A rocket releases high-pressure gases produced by the combustion of fuel and oxidizer in the rear section. This release of gas can be considered as ‘action’ and the ‘reaction’ is that the rocket moves forward.

So as we now know how rockets travel in space, the real question still stands unanswered:

How does the rocket propulsion system work in space without oxygen?

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