let's say I have a liquid rocket what would maximize the distance traveled by the rocket thus consume less fuel constant velocity or acceleration or why?

  • $\begingroup$ There are not enough details here. It is far to general. We could use some formulas to calculate the height it could fly, but without more information like weight, amount of fuel, efficiency (ISP), ... it will be impossible to answer your question. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2022 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


Newton’s first law, roughly “an object in motion stays in motion,” tells you that any rocket can send you any distance in empty space.

The main way we compare rocket performance is $\Delta V$, defined by the rocket equation:

$$\Delta V = v_e \cdot \ln(\frac{m_0}{m_f})$$

  • $\Delta V$ is the change in velocity in m/s
  • $v_e$ is the rocket exhaust velocity in m/s
  • $m_f$ is the empty mass of the rocket
  • $m_0$ is the mass of rocket plus all propellants

There is no component of this equation that says anything about the burn time, so we can infer that there is no way to maximize $\Delta V$ by changing our throttle.

In practice, engines are optimized for ~100% power, and don’t pay the performance price to throttle down except for human comfort/survivability, or for atmospheric and near-landing operations. More importantly, the best time to accelerate and start your trip is right now, so engines, full ahead!

  • $\begingroup$ Any distance is possible only when the escape velocity of the planet or the Sun is exceeded. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Nov 29, 2022 at 20:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Uwe I disagree: how far has the ISS traveled since the first module was put in orbit? The answer is not “300 to 8300 miles (altitude +/- Earth diameter.)” $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2022 at 20:20
  • $\begingroup$ To enter an orbit a minimum speed is required too. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Nov 29, 2022 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ The empty space should be an empty universe, any other mass should be at infinite distance. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Nov 29, 2022 at 20:35

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