Our journey into the stars began after the end of World War 2, when we had begun to refine rocket technology along with the creation of entirely new organisations aimed at helping the human race progress collectively.
The Space Race, which took place between the USA and the USSR, saw the first animals and people go into space, and effectively ended when the USA was able to put astronauts on the moon.
Over the years, the technologies that allow us to travel into space have advanced rapidly, and today even private corporations are able to launch their own rockets. With that in mind, these are some of the very biggest rockets that are currently in use around the world.
Delta IV Heavy
The Delta IV Heavy is the most powerful rocket in the Delta range right now and is designed for taking payloads to both the moon as well as Mars. It’s been in use since 2004, and was launched from the United States, with the US government being the main customer of the IV Heavy, having used it from 2004 to the present day.
It was the rocket used in 2018 to carry the Parker Solar Probe into the solar system as a part of a mission to survey the surface of the sun.
Perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable rockets in the world, the famous Space Shuttle has been in use for well over a decade and relied on cutting-edge technology to make it one of the most versatile, efficient, and advanced rockets ever built.
The shuttle itself is linked to two large rocket boosters that give it the extra propulsion it needs to get into space. Between the period of 1981 and 2011, all of the rockets within the Space Shuttle range, including Discovery, Endeavour, Challenger, Columbia, and Atlantis were used to launch into space a total of 135 times.
During the Space Race, there were few rockets that were quite as well known as the Saturn V. Despite advancements in rocket design, the Saturn V remains the most powerful rocket ever created, and was used for all of the Apollo moon missions, including the moon landing in 1969.
The Saturn V was pivotal in the success of the United States in winning the Space Race, and although the Saturn V was retired in 1973, its legacy continues to live on, making it almost as popular as the slots NZ offers. And despite its age, no other rocket ever made is as tall, as heavy, or can take up a payload quite as big.
The Falcon Heavy is currently the biggest rocket that’s in operation right now. Designed, created, and run by SpaceX, the aim of the Falcon Heavy is to one day allow many to colonise Mars, which is part of it’s so important that the rocket be able to carry large payloads, but also be extremely resistant to all of the extremes of space travel.
It uses reusable boosters and has seen a number of successful flights since its launch in 2018.