The Most Advanced Rocket Engine, Ranked

Choose the rocket engine you think is the most advanced!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 27, 2024 06:18
As humanity reaches further into the stars, the technology propelling us forward becomes a critical subject of discussion and comparison. Determining which rocket engine leads the pack in terms of innovation, efficiency, and power contributes significantly to advancements in space exploration. This analysis isn’t just for engineers and scientists; enthusiasts and future-thinkers also hold stakes in understanding which technologies will shape our extraterrestrial ambitions. By casting your vote on which rocket engine you believe stands out, you contribute to a broader community consensus. This shared insight can guide potential futurists and curious minds in recognizing industry leaders and might influence the direction of upcoming technological endeavors. Your participation helps create a collective voice on what pushes us beyond our current celestial boundaries.

What Is the Most Advanced Rocket Engine?

  1. 1


    Developed by SpaceX, the Raptor is a full-flow staged combustion engine designed for the Starship spacecraft. It burns methane and liquid oxygen.
    • Propellant: Methane and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Full-Flow Staged Combustion
  2. 2


    Developed by SpaceX for use on the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, the Merlin engine uses RP-1 and liquid oxygen as propellants.
    • Propellant: RP-1 and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Gas-generator cycle
  3. 3


    A restartable upper-stage engine used on the Ariane 6, Vinci is designed for high efficiency and multiple ignitions.
    • Propellant: Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Expander cycle
  4. 4


    A rocket engine designed for use in the Atlas V launch vehicle, the RD-180 is known for its high thrust and reliability. It uses kerosene and liquid oxygen.
    • Propellant: Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Staged Combustion
  5. 5


    Developed by Blue Origin, the BE-4 is a powerful engine using liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas. It's intended for use on the New Glenn rocket.
    • Propellant: Liquefied Natural Gas and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Oxygen-rich Staged Combustion
  6. 6


    Used in the Saturn V rocket, the F-1 is the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever developed by NASA.
    • Propellant: Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Gas-generator cycle
  7. 7


    Originally developed for the Soviet N1 lunar rocket, the NK-33 engine was later adapted for use in the first stage of the Soyuz-2-1v launch vehicle.
    • Propellant: Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Staged Combustion
  8. 8

    Vulcain 2

    Used on the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, the Vulcain 2 is a hydrogen-fueled engine developed by the European Space Agency.
    • Propellant: Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Gas-generator cycle
  9. 9


    Previously known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME), the RS-25 is a reusable liquid-fuel rocket engine built by Aerojet Rocketdyne.
    • Propellant: Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Staged Combustion
  10. 10


    A high-efficiency upper stage engine used in the Centaur, Delta IV, and Space Launch System, the RL10 uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
    • Propellant: Liquid Hydrogen and Liquid Oxygen
    • Type: Expander cycle

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most advanced rocket engine. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or engine is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 179 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each engine once every 24 hours. The rank of each engine is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


Additional Information

More about the Most Advanced Rocket Engine

Rank #1 for the most advanced rocket engine: Raptor (Source)
Rockets have fascinated humans for decades. They push the boundaries of what we know. The quest for the most advanced rocket engine has driven many brilliant minds. These engines must be powerful, efficient, and reliable. They must endure the harsh conditions of space travel.

In the early days, rocket engines were simple. They used basic fuels and had limited reach. Engineers worked with what they had. They learned from every launch, every failure. Over time, technology improved. Materials became stronger and lighter. Fuels became more efficient. Computers allowed for precise control.

Modern rocket engines are marvels of engineering. They use advanced fuels that provide more thrust. They have intricate designs that maximize efficiency. These engines can take humans and cargo farther than ever before. They are built to withstand extreme temperatures and pressures.

One key advancement is in the materials used. Early rockets used metals that were heavy and prone to failure. Today, engineers use lightweight alloys and composites. These materials can handle high stress and heat. This makes the engines more reliable and efficient.

Another advancement is in the combustion process. Modern engines use staged combustion. This means fuel burns in stages, not all at once. This process extracts more energy from the fuel. It also reduces waste and increases thrust. Engineers have fine-tuned this process over many years.

The shape of the engine is also crucial. The nozzle, where the exhaust exits, is designed to maximize thrust. Engineers use computer models to test different shapes. They look for the best design that provides the most thrust with the least fuel. This is a delicate balance.

Cooling is another challenge. Rocket engines generate immense heat. If not managed, this heat can damage the engine. Modern engines use advanced cooling systems. These systems circulate fuel around the engine before combustion. This cools the engine and preheats the fuel, making it more efficient.

Control systems have also seen huge improvements. Early rockets had limited control once launched. Today, computers manage every aspect of the flight. They adjust the engine’s thrust and direction in real-time. This allows for precise maneuvers and corrections. It also increases safety.

Reliability is paramount. Engineers test these engines rigorously. They simulate the conditions of space travel. They look for any potential weaknesses. This ensures the engines will perform as expected. Failures are rare but can be catastrophic. Thus, every component is scrutinized.

The quest for the most advanced rocket engine continues. Engineers push the limits of what is possible. They experiment with new materials and designs. They seek to make engines more powerful and efficient. The goal is to explore farther and deeper into space.

This drive for innovation has led to many breakthroughs. Each new engine builds on the lessons of the past. The result is a continuous improvement. This relentless pursuit will one day take humans to new worlds. The journey is long, but the destination is within reach.

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