Rocket and missile confusion

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CeeJay
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Rocket and missile confusion

Post by CeeJay »

Something I wonder about from time to time (in context of gaming/modding) is wether a missile and a rocket are two different things or just one of those "same thing different name" kind of deals. If they are indeed different, than what is the definition of one and the other? Can anyone shed some light on the matter?
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Enjay
 
 
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Re: Rocket and missile confusion

Post by Enjay »

If I throw a stone, it can be called a missile.

Missile An object which is forcibly propelled at a target, either by hand or from a mechanical weapon.

Rocket A cylindrical projectile that can be propelled to a considerable height or distance by the combustion of its contents and the backward ejection of waste gases, usually giving a burst of light and used for signalling, in maritime rescue, for entertainment, and as a weapon; spec. a firework of this form, typically giving a brilliant visual display at the apex of its ascent.

Both from OED.

So, probably, all rockets are missiles, but not all missiles are rockets. ;)
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MartinHowe
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Re: Rocket and missile confusion

Post by MartinHowe »

So a cruise missile is actually a cruise rocket. Then we have the engineer's definition - rocket = no oxygen needed, missile = must have air to burn the fuel.

Powered = rocket
Thrown, catapulted, chucked, anything without its own motive power = missile

So basically, ICBMs aren't :p And the top stages are arguably free-fall bombs, so neither :)

Isn't English wonderful :p
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Enjay
 
 
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Re: Rocket and missile confusion

Post by Enjay »

There's actually a sub-definition for missile that I missed first time around:

1.1 A weapon that is self-propelled or directed by remote control, carrying conventional or nuclear explosive.

and Wikipedia says:

In military language, a missile, also known as a guided missile, is a guided airborne ranged weapon capable of self-propelled flight usually by a jet engine or rocket motor.

So, by those definitions, ICBMs are missiles after all
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NeuralStunner
 
 
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Re: Rocket and missile confusion

Post by NeuralStunner »

"Projectile" takes on any pedantic non-self-propelled meaning you'd normally have for missile. Unless you're the Doom source. :lol:

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