When we think of rockets,we usually think of a rocket that is powered by burning some kind of liquid or solid fuel. I would like to change that thinking by introducing the idea of a rocket that can fly without fuel. I call it a human-powered rocket,and it would contain no fuel of any kind,it would be powered by compressed steam. The rocket would carry a supply of water inside,and the water would be turned into steam by electricity. The electricity would be produced by a group of people (called astronauts) inside the rocket. The astronauts would produce electricity by pedaling. In front of each seat you'll see a set of pedals installed on the floor. When an astronaut sits down,he puts his feet on the pedals,and starts pedaling. This causes his pedals to turn an electrical generator. The generator produces electricity that is used to heat water,so the water will be turned into steam. The steam exhaust is what powers the rocket. Since there is no fuel inside the rocket,there is no chance of any fuel exploding or burning,so a human-powered rocket is safer to use than a conventional rocket.

Let's briefly take a look at what an astronaut would experience when he flies in the rocket. First of all,I should explain that this rocket flight will be a sub-orbital flight. That means the rocket will travel several miles into the sky,but it will not actually orbit the Earth. Since it does not attain orbit,the flight is referred to as a sub-orbital flight. The rocket just goes up a few miles,and then comes down,and lands,this is done to test the system to prepare for orbital flights that will come later. The astronaut must first go through some basic training,so he learns a little about space flight and rocket technology. He would go through several days of training in a classroom,and would also have to go through centrifuge training,to simulate the high 'g' forces during liftoff,and also controlled-dive training (in an airplane) to simulate weightlessness. After the astronaut gets into the rocket,he will have to sit down in his seat,put his feet on the pedals,and start pedaling.

There would be one hundred astronauts in the rocket,and all of them would have to pedal for three days,to build up enough steam,to get off the ground. In order to do this,the astronauts would be split into two groups,called group one and group two. The two groups will take turns pedaling and sleeping. Group one pedals for twelve hours,while group two sleeps for twelve hours,then they trade places,so group one sleeps for twelve hours,while group two pedals for twelve hours. The pedals that are powered by the astronauts' leg muscles are connected to electrical generators. The electricity produced by the pedaling astronauts goes through cables to a boiler filled with water. The electricity heats the water in the boiler until it starts to turn into steam. The astronauts must pedal for about three days,before they build up enough steam pressure to take off. That is because the boiler is very large. It is about 200 feet tall,that's as tall as a twenty-story building!

After pedaling for approximately three days,the steam pressure inside the rocket's boiler has increased to an tremendous level. Finally,we are ready for lift-off. A flight engineer tells the astronauts through a loudspeaker that all of them must start pedaling simultaneously. When they hear that signal,they all start to pedal at the same time. Then the flight engineer pushes a button that causes the steam exhaust valve at the bottom of the rocket to open. Opening this valve causes the steam inside the rocket to escape through the exhaust nozzles. When the tremendous power of the steam exhaust begins to exert it's thrust on the rocket,the rocket starts rising into the sky,slowly at first,then with increasing speed. A huge cloud of steam exhaust pours out of the bottom of the rocket. It creates the appearance that the rocket is producing a cloud of white exhaust smoke,but the white cloud is harmless steam. This rocket does not produce toxic exhaust smoke like a conventional rocket does.

As the rocket rises higher,the first stage boiler and steam chamber are jettisoned. The astronauts continue to pedal,and the electricity they produce is now being channeled into the second stage boiler. As they reach high altitude,the second stage boiler and steam chamber is jettisoned. Now,they are free to fly even higher,without the weight of the first and second stages,which have been jettisoned. For a few minutes,they go into space,and the astronauts inside experience a few minutes of weightlessness. They may get out of their seats and float freely inside the cabin. After a few minutes,the flight engineer announces over a loudspeaker that the descent phase of the flight is beginning.

The astronauts are instructed to get back into their seats,and put on their seat belts. During the descent phase,the rocket's re-entry vehicle (which contains one hundred astronauts and four crew members) will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The bottom of the re-entry vehicle is covered with ceramic tiles. These durable ceramic tiles protect the bottom of the vehicle from the tremendous heat that is generated during re-entry. Finally,the re-entry vehicle extends it's landing gear,and lands at an airport. It lands like a conventional airplane. Welcome to the future of space technology.