A history of rocket science
From steam powered devices in Ancient Greece to man's first steps on the Moon, this is the history of rocket science.
1st Century AD
Hero of Alexandria creates his aeolipile device.
This Greek engineer, who specialises in exotic machinery, makes a metal sphere rotate using a pair of steam-emitting rocket nozzles.
13th Century AD
Although gunpowder has been in use in China for around 200 years, this century sees the first recorded production of gunpowder-powered rockets.
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Russian schoolteacher Konstantin Tsiolkovsky publishes his book Investigating Space With Reaction Devices, defining modern rocket technology.
This is also the year that the Wright Brothers first took a powered flight.
The V-2 rocket-powered weapon (technically an A-4 rocket) is used for the first time to make the first long-range ballistic missile.
Though it causes devastation, the V-2 kick-starts both the US and the USSR’s space programmes.
A modified Russian R-7 rocket carries Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite, into space.
This tiny satellite begins the space race between the US and the USSR.
Apollo 11 takes off on a Saturn V rocket, which is still the largest and most powerful rocket ever built.
It makes history when it takes the first manned mission to land on the Moon.
Brian is a writer of popular science books, with a background in experimental physics. The topics he writes on range from infinity to how to build a time machine. He has also written regular columns, features and reviews for numerous magazines and newspapers, and given lectures at the Royal Institution in London, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and Cheltenham Festival of Science.
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