1st Century AD
Hero of Alexandria, Greek physicist and mathematician, invents a steam-powered device in the 1st Century AD © Mary Evans
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
© Getty Images
Although gunpowder has been in use in China for around 200 years, this century sees the first recorded production of gunpowder-powered rockets.
Read more about rocket science:
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky © Wikimedia Commons
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.
A captured German V-2 rocket, the world’s first guided missile, launched at the US Army testing base at White Sands, in New Mexico © Getty Images
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.
Sputnik 1 © Getty Images
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.
Thousands of people watch Apollo 11 take off © Getty Images
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.