• Question: Why doesn't a rocket burn up on its way up through the atmosphere and yet the fuel compartment burns up when it falls back down to Earth?

    Asked by NEDz to Elie on 17 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Elie Allouis

      Elie Allouis answered on 17 Mar 2016:

      Hi NEDz,

      Looks like you may not have seen my reply in our chat.. 🙂
      Rockets are quite streamlined to go up to minimise friction through the atmosphere at high speed.

      Once they break up and fall back down, like meteorites, they heat up a lot, because they go very fast, but with a very large area presented to the flow of air..this heats them up and they end up burning up

      ..tada !