History of Rockets The
evolution of the rocket has made it an indispensable tool in the exploration
of space. For centuries, rockets have provided ceremonial and warfare
uses starting with the ancient Chinese,
the first to create rockets. The rocket apparently made its debut on the
pages of history as a fire arrow used by the Chin Tartars in 1232 AD for
fighting off a Mongol assault on Kai-feng-fu. The lineage to the immensely
larger rockets now used as space launch vehicles is unmistakable. But for
centuries rockets were in the main rather small, and their use was confined
principally to weaponry, the projection of lifelines in sea rescue, signaling,
and fireworks displays. Not until the 20th century did a clear understanding
of the principles of rockets emerge, and only then did the technology of
large rockets begin to evolve. Thus, as far as spaceflight and space science
are concerned, the story of rockets up to the beginning of the 20th century
was largely prologue.
the 13th to the 18th Century there were reports of many rocket experiments.
For example, Joanes de Fontana of Italy designed a surface-running rocket-powered
torpedo for setting enemy ships on fire. In 1650, a Polish artillery expert,
Kazimierz Siemienowicz, published a series of drawings for a staged rocket.
In 1696, Robert Anderson, an Englishman, published a two-part treatise
on how to make rocket molds, prepare the propellants, and perform the calculations.
early introduction of rockets to Europe, they were used only as weapons.
Enemy troops in India repulsed the British with rockets. Later in Britain,
Sir William Congreve developed a rocket that could fire to about 9,000
feet. The British fired Congreve rockets against the United States in the
War of 1812. Francis Scott Key coined the phrase the "rocket's red glare
after the British fired Congreve rockets against the United States. William
Congreve's incendiary rocket used black powder, an iron case, and a 16-foot
guide stick. Congreve had used a 16-foot guidestick to help stabilize his
rocket. William Hale, another British inventor, invented the stickless
rocket in 1846. The U.S. army used the Hale rocket more than 100 years
ago in the war with Mexico. Rockets were also used to a limited extent
in the Civil War.
During the 19th century, rocket enthusiasts
and inventors began to appear in almost every country. Some people thought
these early rocket pioneers were geniuses, and others thought they were
crazy. Claude Ruggieri, an Italian living in Paris, apparently rocketed
small animals into space as early as 1806. The payloads were recovered
by parachute. As far back as 1821, sailors hunted whales using rocket-propelled
harpoons. These rocket harpoons were launched form a shoulder-held tube
equipped with a circular blast shield.
By the end of the 19th century, soldiers,
sailors, practical and not so practical inventors had developed a stake
in rocketry. Skillful theorists, like Konstantian Tsiolkovsky in Russia,
were examining the fundamental scientific theories behind rocketry. They
were beginning to consider the possibility of space travel. Three persons
were particularly significant in the transition from the small rockets
of the 19th century to the colossi of the space age: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
in Russia, Robert Goddard in the United States, and Hermann Oberth in Germany.
Men Behind the Space Rockets
Goddard The father of modern propulsion
is the American, Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard.
Eduardovitch Tsiolkovsky Early Russian scientist (1857-1935).
Oberth German scientist.
von Braun Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) was
one of the most important developers and champions of space exploration
during the period between the 1930s and the 1970s.
Invention of Rockets The inventors behind the history
of rockets: from ancient fire arrows to today's modern rockets.
The Evolution of Rockets
History of Rockets Timeline:
BCE - 1700 AD/1700
AD - 1850 AD/1850
AD - 1957/1957
AD - 1989 The ancient Chinese had once fastened
a myriad of small rockets to a wooden chair, where they positioned their
emperor. And in their attempt to reach the heavens, the chair (and their
emperor) disappeared in a cloud of fire and smoke.
How Rockets Work
A device shooting out a fast jet
of gas, in order to produce a force in the opposite direction.
a Firework Rocket Works Developed
in the second-century BCE, by the ancient Chinese, fireworks are the oldest
form of rockets and the most simplistic model of a rocket.
a Solid Propellant Rocket Works Preluding
the liquid fueled rocket, this rocket type began with contributions to
the field by such scientists as Zasiadko, Constantinov, and Congreve. Although
currently in a further advanced state, solid propellant rockets remain
in wide spread use today, as seen in rockets including the Space Shuttle
dual booster engines and the Delta series booster stages.
a Liquid Propellant Rocket Works Liquid fueled
rockets were first theorized by Tsiolkozski in in 1896.
Rocket Engines Work Introduction to how rocket engines
Rocket Staging and Technology Each of the above rockets had a
single engine, on which it rose until it ran out of fuel. A better way
to achieve great speed, however, is to place a small rocket on top of a
big one and fire it after the first has burned out. The US army, which
after the war used captured V-2s for experimental flights into the high
atmosphere, replaced the payload with another rocket, in this case a "WAC
Corporal," which was launched from the top of the orbit. Now the burned-out
V-2, weighing 3 tons, could be dropped, and using the smaller rocket, the
payload reached a much higher altitude. Today of course almost every space
rocket uses several stages, dropping each empty burned-out stage and continuing
with a smaller and lighter booster. Explorer
1, the first artificial satellite of the US which was launched
in January 1958, used a 4-stage rocket. Even the space shuttle uses two
large solid-fuel boosters which are dropped after they burn out.
Three Laws applied to Rockets Practical
Rocketry The Rockets
of NASA A history of NASA and space rockets.
Timelines Detailed chronologies of air and
Subject Reference Guide - NASA The
History of Rocketry Great site on the history of rocketry.
& 19th Centuries 1945
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