Science Fiction and Science

The development of rocket technology is a story of international accomplishment. Three men, working independently in three different countries, were at the forefront of liquid-fueled rocket development. All three did their work at the start of the 20th century, yet none of them knew of the others’ work in time to use that work in his own investigations.

  • One of these “rocket men” was Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky of Russia. Born in 1857, he was the fifth of 18 children. Intrigued as a child by the way a small hydrogen-filled balloon rose to the ceiling each time he let it loose, as an adult he was determined to reach and live in space.
  • Robert Goddard was the American rocket man. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1882, he  was 17-years old when he decided he would find a way to ascend to Mars.
  • Hermann Oberth, born in 1894 in Romania, of German nationality, designed his rocket to work in stages. He also worked on research projects for Germany in the late 1930’s.

What did these three men have in common?   

Verne

All three read Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon. Spurred by the vision of space travel portrayed in Verne’s work, each of these men labored to create a solution that would fulfill their personal version of this dream. In a time when communication between individuals on different continents was thwarted by the existing technology, the printed word served to unite these men in a common calling.

Read more about these amazing men and their work in Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of  Mastering the Oceans and Sky

More about Tsiolkovsky:
Rocket Men: Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky
Tsiolkovsky: Sixteen Stages of Space Exploration

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