The "tyranny" of the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation means that more and more fuel is needed to reach higher delta-vs, and that the amount of fuel needed grows in greater than linear way.

Does this mean that there is a maximum gravity that a conventional rocket can escape from? If the Earth was slightly more massive, would that prevent us from reaching escape velocity with conventional rocket technology?

  • $\begingroup$ Good question! I think the answer is yes, but the gravity is dependent on the properties of the rocket fuel, how much impulse it produces. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 18, 2018 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ While you could, theoretically, scale the size of the rocket arbitrarily, at some point it will become a significant gravitational mass, and pretty soon your exhaust gases won't reach escape speed sufficient to exit your rocket's gravitational field, meaning net thrust becomes zero. But much sooner than that you just face a rocket that can't sustain structural integrity under own weight, and global shortage of resources. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Jul 18, 2018 at 10:57


Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.