A human-powered rocket is a rocket that is powered by a large group of people who are pedaling,to produce electricity. The electricity they produce goes through wires to a boiler,that is filled with water,and the electricity is used to heat water in the boiler. When the water boils,and turns into steam,the steam is used as a propellant to power the rocket. A human-powered rocket is 100 % human-powered,it uses no fuel. It does not pollute the air,and it does not contribute to global warming. Let's take a look at what a flight to the Moon in a human-powered rocket would be like.

First of all,the rocket itself is huge,it's approximately 300 feet high,that's as high as a 30-story building. It has three stages,which can be jettisoned. Each stage contains a steam boiler. At the top of the rocket,there is a large crew module. The crew module looks like an airplane,and the bottom of the crew module is covered with ceramic tiles. The tiles protect the crew module from heat during re-entry. Inside the crew module there is space for 204 people. 200 of them are passengers who are referred to as astronauts,and the other 4 people are crew members.including a pilot,a co-pilot,a flight engineer,and an assistant flight engineer.

The front of the crew module contains the control room,where the pilot controls the rocket. This is a small room with a windshield,at the front,so the pilot can look out the window and make visual observations of the environment he's flying in. The control room also contains electronic instruments. The rear of the crew module has seats for 200 astronauts. Each seat has a set of pedals installed on the floor in front of it. When an astronaut sits down,he puts his feet on those pedals,and pedals them,as if he were pedaling a bicycle. The set of pedals is connected to an electrical generator under the floor. When the astronaut pedals,the generator produces electricity,and the electric power goes through wires to the boiler. The electricity is used to boil the water in the boiler,so it turns into steam. The steam is the propellant that provides thrust to the rocket.

Since the boilers in the rocket are large,(they contain thousands of gallons of water)it will take a while to warm them up. Even with 200 people pedaling,it will take a few days to warm up the boiler,so that sufficient steam pressure is generated. The warm-up period will be approximately five days. This means that the 200 astronauts on board must pedal for five days,to build up steam pressure. In order to pedal continuously for five days,the astronauts are split into two groups. One group is called group one,the other group is called group two. Group one pedals for 12 hours while group two sleeps,then they trade places,group two pedals for 12 hours while group one sleeps for 12 hours. The five-day warm-up period is also a good time to screen the astronauts. If one of the astronauts seems like he isn't pedaling fast enough,during the five-day warm-up period,he may be removed from the flight,and he'll be replaced with someone else. A computer would keep track of how fast each astronaut was pedaling,and the computer would send a message to the flight engineer to warn him if one(or more)of the astronauts was not pedaling fast enough.

After five days of pedaling,the pilot would announce through a loudspeaker that the rocket was ready for takeoff. The pilot asks all the astronauts (group one and group two) to pedal at the same time. Then the pilot pushes a button that opens the steam exhaust valve at the bottom of the rocket. This causes steam to escape from the exhaust nozzle,so the steam can provide thrust to the rocket. The rocket slowly rises into the sky,then gains speed and flies to high altitude. The first,second,and third stages are jettisoned one by one,as their boilers run out of steam. The crew module goes into Earth orbit.

After Earth orbit has been achieved,the astronauts on board the crew module may rest their legs and stop pedaling for a while. They experience zero-gravity and they can leave their seats and float freely around the cabin. Later,they begin to pedal again,to pressurize a small boiler located under the floor,this boiler provides steam to launch them out of Earth orbit,so they can head for the Moon. A few days later,they approach the Moon,and the crew module goes into lunar orbit. Although there are 200 astronauts on board,only two of them will actually go down to the surface of the Moon,the other 188 astronauts will remain inside the crew module,while it orbits the moon. Two astronauts get into the lunar module,which is carried inside the crew module,and the lunar module then leaves the crew module and begins it's descent to the lunar surface.

The lunar module has seats for the two astronauts,and each seat has a set of pedals. The astronauts must pedal occasionally,to keep the small steam boiler in the lunar module pressurized. They use steam exhaust to slow their descent,and finally land on the moon. Both astronauts(wearing airtight space suits)are not allowed to get out of the lunar module and walk around on the moon at the same time. Only one is allowed to get out and walk around,the other astronaut is required to stay inside the lunar module,and keep pedaling. This is required because the Moon is a cold environment,and the water in the lunar module's boiler may freeze. To prevent it from freezing,one astronaut stay inside the lunar module,while the other astronaut walks around on the Moon. Then they trade places. The first astronaut comes inside,and pedals,while the second astronaut goes outside and walks on the Moon. Their Moon walks are limited to about 30 minutes each. They are allowed to bring their own cameras with them,provided their cameras don't weigh more than 16 ounces each. They are allowed to collect small rocks from the surface of the Moon,and they may bring these rocks home with them as keepsakes,provided the rocks don't weigh more than eight ounces. Weight is very critical on a flight like this,there are weight limits for every item on board the rocket and it's various modules.

Finally,it's time for the two astronauts to leave the Moon. They both get into the lunar module and they begin to pedal. They pedal for about an hour,until they build up enough steam pressure to leave the Moon. The Moon's gravity is weaker then the Earth's gravity,so it doesn't take as much energy to get off the Moon,as it does to get off the earth. When the lunar module's boiler has enough pressure,the astronaut commanding the lunar module pushes a button,and this causes the steam exhaust valve at the bottom of the lunar module to be opened,so the steam escapes from the nozzle. The steam provides thrust to the lunar module,so it flies upwards,and goes into a lunar orbit. It then meets the crew module and the lunar module is then stored inside the crew module. The two astronauts who walked on the moon then join the other 188 astronauts in the crew module,and then all 200 of them start to pedal again. They pedal for a few minutes until the crew module's boiler is pressurized. Then they open the steam exhaust valve of the crew module's steam-powered rocket engine,and launch themselves towards Earth.

After a few more days of space travel,they go into earth orbit. They may remain in Earth orbit,while they evaluate weather conditions on Earth. Naturally,they do not want to attempt to land in the middle of a storm. If there's a storm they'll continue to orbit until it's safe to land. As they descend through the atmosphere,the ceramic tiles on the bottom of the crew module protect them from heat. They extend their landing gear,and land at an airport,just like a conventional airplane. This type of lunar flight may be commonplace in the future. Since a human-powered rocket does not use any fuel,it would be the cheapest way to fly,since there are no fuel costs whatsoever. It would cost more to get in a jet plane and fly from New York to London,since the jet plane you'd fly in uses jet fuel,and the jet fuel costs money. Imagine flying to the Moon and back for less than the cost of a New York-to-London flight! There is one more aspect of cost-cutting,that I should mention,however. During the ascent phase of the flight,the three stages of the rocket are jettisoned when they run out of steam. When they are jettisoned,they would float in the ocean until someone picks them up,and brings them back,so they can be refurbished,and used again,in later flights. The boat that picks them up should not have to use fuel,since fuel costs money,so they should be picked up in a solar-powered boat. The computers and other equipment in the mission control center where the rocket is launched could be powered by solar panels or windmills,so the entire system has zero impact on the environment. No fuel,no pollution,no global warming.