Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Science | Space | Space Transportation Systems

Space Transportation Systems (STS) are the systems and architectures that deliver payloads and humans to outer space. Learn about space shuttles, rockets and other spacecraft.

How Solar Sail Technology Works

What is a solar sail? How can you use sunlight to move a spacecraft in outer space? In this article, HowStuffWorks will show you how solar sail technology works, take an in-depth look at the Cosmos-1 mission and find out what solar-sails mean for future space travel.

How Solar Sails Work

 How Solar Sails Work

Solar sails will use the sun's power to send us further into deep space. Learn how solar sails will work and where NASA is testing solar sails. See more »

 Can you make a rocket engine using hydrogen peroxide and silver?

At a drag race, I once saw a rocket car that was supposedly powered by spraying hydrogen peroxide on a silver mesh. The resultant reaction produced huge amounts of pure white smoke and apparently enough thrust to propel the car rapidly down the track. Does hydrogen peroxide really react with silver that way? See more »

 Meteors burn up when they hit the Earth's atmosphere. Why doesn't the space shuttle?

In science, we are learning about the atmosphere. It protects us from meteors because it burns them up. So, why doesn't the space shuttle burn up? See more »

How Rocket Engines Work

 How Rocket Engines Work

Rocket engines harness the energy to get a spaceship off the ground. Learn about solid-fuel rocket engines, liquid-propellant rockets and the future of rocket engines. See more »