Russian Rocketman Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, truly a “Citizen of the Universe,” introduced these Sixteen Stages of Space Exploration in 1926. He believed that these incremental steps would bring man into space and allow him to thrive:
- Design of rocket-propelled airplanes with wings.
- Progressively increasing the speeds and altitudes reached with these airplanes.
- Designing of a pure rocket without wings.
- Developing the ability to land on the ocean surface by rocket.
- Reaching of escape velocity and first flight into space.
- Lengthening of the rocket flight time into space.
- Experimental use of plants to make an artificial atmosphere in spacecraft.
- Using of pressurized space suits for activity outside spacecraft.
- Making of orbital greenhouses for plants.
- Building of the large orbital habitats around earth.
- Using solar radiation to grow food, to heat space quarters, and for transport needs throughout the solar system.
- Colonization of the asteroid belt.
- Colonization of the entire solar system and beyond.
- Achievement of individual and social perfection.
- Overcrowding of the solar system and galaxy colonization.
- The sun begins to die and the people remaining in the solar system’s population move to other solar systems.
This list was taken from an Encylcopedia Astronautica entry entitled “Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – The Pioneer of Space Travel,” by V. Lytkin.
Read more about Tsiolkovksy in Chapter 10, Rocketmen, Modeling Ships and Space Craft: The Science and Art of Mastering the Oceans and Sky.