Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 10 - Think and Explain: 60

Answer

An initial vertical orientation uses the rocket's thrust most effectively to counteract the weight and get the rocket moving upward. A vertical path also reaches the greatest height in the least amount of time. However, to achieve a stable, unpowered orbit, the rocket must be given a tangential velocity, so it gradually tilts into a horizontal orientation. This is discussed on page 193.
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