A Brief History of Rockets and Space Travel

When you think about our incredible journey to space do you cast your mind back to the ancient Greeks? If not, come with us on a journey through time as we explore the history of man's greatest achievement - breaking through the space barrier.

Created by Crank, publishers of Junior Astronaut: Breaking Through The Space Barrier available for iPad. Built with source material from NASA and WIKIPEDIA

0010-01-01 01:00:00

The Hero Engine

Though not a rocket, the main principle behind rocket (and jet) propulsion was employed in a steam engine invented by Hero of Alexandria.

0428 BC-01-01 01:00:00

The Greeks play with fire

Archytas, a Greek philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer was said to have constructed and flown a small bird-shaped device that was propelled by a jet of steam or compressed air.

0800-01-01 00:00:00

In the 8th Century, the chinese discover gunpowder

Whilst trying to develop an "elixir of immortality", Chinese alchemists stumble across an explosive compound called Gunpowder.

0810-11-06 00:00:00

Over time, they perfect the recipe

It takes many years to refine the recipe for gunpowder until...

1214-01-01 00:00:00

Roger Bacon builds on the Chinese early discoveries

A monk, Bacon wrote about gunpowder in his book "The Epistola Fratris R. Baconis, de secretis operibus artis et naturase et nullitate magiae"...

1500-01-01 00:00:00

Wang hu's dreams of space go with a bang

According to legend Wan Hu, a Chinese stargazer and local official living sometime around the middle of the Ming dynasty, dreamed of spaceflight.

1600-01-01 12:00:00

Kazimierz Siemienowicz

Kazimierz Siemienowicz, a Polish-Lithuanian commander in the Polish Royal Artillery, was an expert in the fields of artillery and rocketry. He wrote a manuscript on rocketry that was partially published before his death.

1630-06-30 13:47:23

The Birth of Rocket Science - Galileo Galilei

In addition to his many other accomplishments, this Italian astronomer and mathematician rekindled the spirit of scientific experimentation and challenged old beliefs relating to mass and gravity.

1687-07-05 00:00:00

Isaac Newton publishes his three laws of motion

The brilliant English scientist's work on how objects move in relation to each other and defining the laws of gravity, established the science that all rocketry and space travel would be based on.

1772-05-20 00:00:00

Colonel William Congreve

Following stunning rocket barrages against the British by the forces of Tippoo Sultaun of India, William Congreve took charge of British military rocket companies.

1828-02-08 11:08:44

Jules Verne - fiction inspires fact

The dream of traveling through space was brought to life by French science fiction writer Jules Verne.

1857-09-17 00:00:00

Modern Rocket Pioneers - Konstantin E. Tsiolkovski

Konstantin Tsiolkovski was a teacher, theorist, and astronautics pioneer. Son of a Polish forester who emigrated to Russia, he wrote and taught extensively about human space travel and is considered the father of cosmonautics and human spaceflight.

1882-10-05 00:00:00

Robert H. Goddard

American college professor and scientist Robert Goddard built and flew the world’s first liquid propellant rocket on March 16, 1926.

1894-06-25 00:00:00

Hermann Oberth

Hermann Oberth, a Romanian by birth and a naturalized German citizen, became fascinated by the works of Jules Verne and devoted his life to promoting space travel.

1939-02-01 00:00:00

Vergeltungswaffe 2 - V2

In the late 1930s, the German Verein fur Raumschiffart Society for Space Travel evolved into the team that built and flew the most advanced rocket for the time, the V2.

1948-02-01 00:00:00

Bumper Project

At the conclusion of the war in Europe, 300 trainloads of V2 rockets and parts were captured and shipped to the United States along with the majority of the principal designers, who decided beforehand to surrender to American troops.

1957-10-04 00:00:00

The World’s First Artificial Satellite

At the conclusion of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a race for space.

1957-11-03 00:00:00

Laika the dog - the first living thing to orbit the earth

Laika was a Soviet space dog that became the first animal to orbit the Earth.

1958-01-31 00:00:00

Explorer 1

The United States entered the satellite-launching business on January 31, 1958 with the successful launch of Explorer 1.

1961-04-12 00:00:00

Yuri Gagarin Goes Into Orbit

On April 12, 1961, space became the domain of humans with the launch of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

1961-05-05 00:00:00

Freedom 7

On May 5, 1961, American astronaut Alan Shepherd, Jr., lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, inside his Freedom 7 Mercury space capsule, which sat atop a Redstone rocket.

1962-02-20 00:00:00

Glenn Orbits Earth

On February 20, 1962, riding on a more powerful missile, the Atlas, astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., became the first American to go into orbit.

1969-07-20 10:56:00

“One Small Step...”

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon.

A Brief History of Rockets and Space Travel

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