This chapter serves as an introduction to the flight performance of rocket‐propelled vehicles such as spacecraft, space launch vehicles, and missiles or projectiles. It presents these subjects from a rocket propulsion point of view. Propulsion systems deliver forces to a flight vehicle and cause it to accelerate (or at times decelerate), overcome drag forces, or to change flight direction. Some propulsion systems also provide torques to the flight vehicles for rotation or other maneuvers. Flight missions can be classified into several flight regimes: (1) flight within the Earth's atmosphere (e.g., air‐to‐surface missiles, surface‐to‐surface short‐range missiles, surface‐to‐air missiles, air‐to‐air missiles, assisted takeoff units, sounding rockets, or aircraft rocket propulsion systems), see Refs. 4–1 and 4–2; (2) near space environment (e.g., Earth satellites, orbital space stations, or long‐range ballistic missiles), see Refs. 4–3 to 4–9; (3) lunar and planetary flights (with or without landing or Earth return), see Refs. 4–5 to 4–12; and (4) deep space exploration and sun escape. Each of these is discussed in this chapter except for the operation of very low thrust units which is treated in Chapter 17. We begin with a basic one‐dimensional analysis of space flight and then consider some more the complex fight path scenarios for various flying rocket‐propelled vehicles. Conversion factors, atmospheric properties, and a summary of key equations can ...

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