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Jules Verne's novel From the Earth to the Moon (1865) tells the story of two men who built an enormous space gun, the Columbiad,...Read More >>Jules Verne's novel From the Earth to the Moon (1865) tells the story of two men who built an enormous space gun, the Columbiad, and launched themselves in a spacecraft shaped like a giant bullet (pictured) to land on the Moon. People dreamed of travelling in outer space long before rockets were invented. In 1865 the French science-fiction writer Jules Verne wrote a story about travellers to the Moon. The secret of space travel was the rocket—petrol or jet engines do not work in space. The first man who suggested that rockets might be used for space flight was a Russian teacher, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, in 1903. No one took much notice then but the American scientist, Robert H. Goddard, built the first successful rocket, using liquid fuel, in 1926. While later rockets successfully reached heights above Earth of more than 100 kilometres (the height required by the international organization, Fédération Aéronautique Internationale to count as a space flight) the first true spacecraft—one capable of orbiting the Earth—Sputnik 1, was launched on 4th October 1957.



Dr Robert H. Goddard and his liquid oxygen-gasoline rocket. It was fired from this frame on 16th March 1926 at Auburn,...Read More >>Dr Robert H. Goddard and his liquid oxygen-gasoline rocket. It was fired from this frame on 16th March 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts, USA.

First rockets

The first liquid-fuel rocket was built by American scientist Robert Goddard in 1926. Using gasoline and liquid oxygen for fuel, the 1-metre (3-feet) tall rocket, nicknamed "Nell", reached a height of 12.5 metres (41 feet). His later rockets reached heights of up to 2.16 kilometres (1.6 miles) at speeds of up to 885 km/h (550 mph).
The first long-range rocket was the V-2 missile, designed by German engineer Wernher von Braun during World War II. The 14-metre (45-feet), liquid-fuelled rocket became the first manmade object in space in October 1942. It could reach an altitude of 206 kilometres (128 miles). After the war, von Braun worked for the US space programme.V-2 missile, the first space rocket

The first living things to travel into space were fruit flies on board a V-2 rocket on 20th February 1947. The first mammal in space was a rhesus monkey, called Albert II, on 14th June 1949.

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