Anglin 1Andrew AnglinMs. BennettBritish Literature7 October 2011 Rockets: The Advancement of the Human Race Throughout the centuries, man has advanced in many technologies, beginning in ancientcivilizations and expanding through new innovations. Of these technologies, mankind hascreated rockets that have lead from a basic flying device to rocket-powered missiles, space crafts,and other vehicles. Early rockets date back to the thirteenth century when the Chinese packedgunpowder into a tube and ignited the powder (Robinson). Once the first rocket was created, theinvention spread quickly throughout many countries, and different cultures added their ownexpertise to the remarkable invention. Due to new ideas and the discovery of new resources, therocket has become a valuable item in the United States and other countries around the world.One can better understand how rockets have played a major role in the advancement of thehuman race by examining the history of the rocket through early rocket inventions;advancements in rocket technology due to the onset of World War II; the Space Race betweenthe United States and the Soviet Union, with an increase in the knowledge of space around planetEarth and other surrounding planets in the universe; and the start of the space shuttle programand NASA during the space race and NASA’s most recent activities. First, rockets started as basic tubing that was launched in the air from the ignition ofgunpowder as a fuel source; however, through the exchange of information and technology ascountries were conquered by countries and by the expansion of cultures, stronger and moredurable body styles were formed (Van Riper 10). For example, as the early modern era
Anglin 2progressed, heavier and more stable body tubes were made from cast iron for military use and abasic pasteboard for civilian use (Van Riper 11-12); however, in the early nineteenth century,William Congreve, a colonel in the British army, developed a stronger and accurate rocket thatwould carry a warhead almost three miles (Robinson). With the creation of rockets, people werebeginning to see new innovative ways to use this technology, not only for entertainmentpurposes, but also as military weapons. Another example of technological innovations would befrom the years 1900 to 1945 when people began to envision rockets that would carry payloadsinto space. One of these first people was Konstantin Tsiolkovsky of the USSR, who worked onrockets that would carry payloads into space, the start of space exploration. At the same time twomen, Robert Hutchings Goddard and Hermann Oberth of the United States, began to create andenvision moon rockets and rockets that could reach higher altitudes for data collection (VanRiper 28-29). As one can see, not much time passed between early rocket designs and newermore complicated ideas of what rockets could be used for. Therefore, new designs were testedand used as a cause of World War II. In concordance with earlier rocket designs, more creative and useful purposes were aboutto be developed at the start of WWII. For instance, the start of World War II brought a sense ofurgency to many nations-- including the United States and Germany-- to create more effectiveand accurate long-range rocket-propelled bombs and artillery (Kaplan). Due to the desire of bothnations to be better and more effective in war tactics, new rockets were developed for destructivereasons. Later during the War, the Germans were able to launch the very first rocket to reach thelower limits of space with a speed of 3,500 miles per hour and a range of 190 miles. TheGermans then took this technology and applied it to one of the most famous rockets of its time,the V-2 rocket. The V-2 rocket was designed by a team of German scientists, one of whom being
Anglin 3Werhner von Braun, one of the best and well known German scientists of his time. The V-2rocket was fueled with liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen instead of early propulsion substancessuch as gunpowder (Robinson). However, despite the Nazis using the V-2 rocket againstEngland in 1944 and 1945, the rockets lacked efficient terminal guidance, causing the majority tomiss their intended targets. On the other hand, the rockets were very intimidating and caught theeyes of the U.S government, and if the Germans would have developed the V-2 rocket earlierduring the War, the rocket’s effects on their victories would have shown (Kaplan). In turn, thedevelopment of the V-2 rocket resulted in many victories by the Nazis. However, the tide wouldturn once the United States started to develop its own types of high power military rockets. The Germans were not the only ones to advance in military rockets; the United Statesadvanced along as well. For example, the United States developed barrage and direct-fire rocketsthat were more accurate compared to ancient and early styles of rockets (Van Riper 42). Thebarrage rockets were fired from a simple rail system and mounted to vehicles that needed to bejust bigger than a motorcycle; however, the rockets still had one problem: accuracy. Despite therockets not being accurate, the rockets were more accurate than previous designs, and the rocketsprovided a continuous cascade of explosions that played a psychological game with Germantroops. These barrage rockets came in many varieties of rail systems including the T27Xylophone, which was an eight tube rail system with a side-by-side arrangement; the T27-E2,which held a twenty-four tube rail system; the T44, which held a 120 tube rail system; and,finally, the T34 Calliope, which was a sixty tube launcher mounted on a turret of a Sherman tank(Van Riper 43-44). The U.S. military also constructed a very accurate direct-fire rocket calledthe M1A1 type, better known to soldiers as the "bazooka." The bazooka and other direct-firerockets were very light and easy to carry and had very little recoil for the shooter. These direct-
Anglin 4fire rockets’ targets were mostly stationary vehicles that had very limited mobility and werelocated in shorter ranges than targets of barrage and V-2 rockets (Van Riper 45-47). Therefore,the United States began to level the playing field between U.S troops and Nazi troops. In turn,due to the advancement in military weapons through rockets and the best military tactics, theUnited States helped turn the tide of the war. At the end of World War II, many Germanscientists surrendered to the United States and were used for information and knowledge for theproduction of military-based rockets and space-destined rocket powered shuttles (Robinson).Although WWII ended in a German defeat, the Germans’ new rocket technology lead to anincrease in power among two nations: the United States and the USSR. The United States gained the knowledge for even more advanced rocket designs andpropulsion from German scientists, resulting in a new competition between the United States andthe Soviet Union. For instance, during World War II, the American rocket programs primaryfocus was national defense; however, at the end of WWII, the United States and the SovietUnion became the worlds most "formidable powers" when they began to focus on spaceexploration (Robinson). Therefore, each nation was in the race to be one step ahead of the otherin its arsenal of weapons. The main goal of both nations was intercontinental ballistic missilesthat could carry nuclear warheads across the world to enemy cities and defense stations. In orderto move the weaponry, these larger rockets would have to make brief flights into space and thenback down into the earths atmosphere to their designated targets. As both nations began todevelop rockets capable of accomplishing these incredible feats, by the 1950s, both nationsrealized that these rockets could be capable of orbiting the Earth and reaching the moon andother planets (Robinson). These new ideas eventually lead to the space race between the UnitedStates and the Soviet Union and caused both nations to remain enemies for decades to come.
Anglin 5However, at the start of the space race, the United States was far from the winning side. Forexample, the Soviets conquered the first crucial step in the space race when they successfullylaunched Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957. Sputnik 1 was a sphere-shaped satellite weighing 184pounds that became known as the very first artificial satellite launched in space (“technology,history of”). Sputnik 1 was only the first step in the Soviets’ plan to become the world’s leadingpower through the space race. After Sputnik 1, the United States and the Soviets were in stiff competition on the lunarexploration program in which both were trying to gather data on the moon via satellite images inorder to eventually send a man to the moon (“technology, history of”). Again the Soviets beganwith the lead by launching Luna 1 on January 2, 1959. Luna 1 escaped the gravitational pull ofthe earth, passed the moon, and orbited the sun as an artificial planet. The Soviets then launchedLuna 2, which crashed on the moon on September 13, 1959, followed by Luna 3 on October 4,1959, which orbited the moon and took the first pictures of side of the moon that always facesaway from Earth. However, the Soviets did not make a soft landing on the moon by satellite untilFebruary 3, 1966, with Luna 9. The United States was just a few steps behind, though, because inearly1964 the United States Rangers 7, 8, and 9 had taken successful close-range pictures of themoon and later crashed into the surface of the moon in late 1964 and early 1965. Finally, on June2, 1966, the United States soft-landed on the moon with the satellite Surveyor 1, which collectedvaluable information about the surface of the moon (“technology, history of”). At this point, bothnations had made great strides towards moon exploration, and even though the Soviets still hadthe lead, the United States would soon gain the lead in space exploration. The Soviets continued to lead the space race on through the manned space program inwhich cosmonaut Yury Gagarin was the first man to orbit the earth from the Vostok 1 on April
Anglin 612, 1961 (“technology, history of”). However, the United States launched a series of spaceflights in which man “walked” in space outside the space craft. Therefore, the Soviets’ lead wasshort lived when Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on the moon in the space capsuleApollo 11 and walked on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969. By sending men, the U.Scaught up and took the lead in the space race. The next stage of development was explorationbeyond Earth and the moon to other planets. The first planet targeted was Venus, to which theUnited States launched the space probe Mariner 2 on August 27, 1962. Later, in December ofthat year, Mariner 2 relayed information back to Earth about Venus’s hot temperatures andclimate. At this point, the Soviets discovered that their Venera 3 probe crash landed on Venus onMarch 1, 1966, and that the Venera 4, which soft landed on the planet on October 18, 1967, hadgathered atmospheric data of the planet. On the other hand, the United States sent the PioneerVenus 1, which orbited Venus for eight months in 1978, and later in December of 1978, fourlanding probes gathered “quantitative and qualitative analyses of the Venusian atmosphere”(“technology, history of”). Finally, the United States decided to explore the planet Mars in orderto expand knowledge of planets close to Earth. In the late 1960s photographs taken by Marinerorbiters showed a resemblance between the surface of the moon and Mars. As a result, theUnited States launched Vikings 1 and 2 that landed on Mars and were designed to detect thepresence of organic matter; however, the results were negative (“technology, history of”).Through great precision, confidence, hard work, and patience, the United States was able toachieve the amazing feat of sending men to the moon and surpassing the Soviets, therebywinning the space race and becoming the worlds leading power in space exploration. However,the United States would not have been able to accomplish this victory without the start of theNASA program.
Anglin 7 The most important part to the United States success in the space race was the creation ofthe National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the late 1950s. NASA was established in1958 “for the research and development of vehicles and activities for the exploration of space”(“NASA”). The NASA program was created primarily in response to the Soviets launching ofSputnik 1 and the fledgling program thrived during the Kennedy administration. John F.Kennedy was the president who actually proposed man landing on the moon, and it was he whoset the deadline for NASA and the space program to achieve this feat toward the end of the1960s (“NASA”). Obviously, without this deadline and determination to defeat the Soviets, theUnited States may not have prevailed. However, this success was in part due to NASAsorganized offices and plans to explore space. For example, NASA was and is still organized intofive different program offices including Aeronautics and Space Technology, Space Science andApplication, Space Flight, Space Tracking and Data, and Space Station-- all of which play majorroles in space exploration and technology. The Aeronautics and Space Technology office isresponsible for the “development of equipment” (“NASA”), followed by the Space Science andApplication office, which deals with the understanding of the universe and the solar system. Nextis the Space Flight office, which deals with manned and unmanned space shuttles andtransportation. Then the Space Tracking and Data office takes care of tracking shuttles andsatellites and collecting data, and finally the Space Station office established and controlled themanned space station that now orbits Earth (“NASA”). Via these main offices, NASA was ableto keep up with the Soviets and finally conquer the Soviets in space technology and knowledge.However, NASA did not stop there. Rather, from the space race into recent time NASA hasremained a critical part in new technologies in space travel and the leader in space programsaround the world.
Anglin 8 NASA has developed many technological advances through the past decades and issolely responsible for the United State’s victory over the Soviets in the space race. For instance,many satellites have been launched through NASA not only in space exploration, but also in in-orbit data collection around Earth. One of these data collectors, Landsat, was a series of satellites“designed to collect information on natural resources on Earth," including "communicationsatellites, and weather satellites” (“NASA”). However, NASA’s most remarkable developmentswere most likely the space capsule that conducted the voyage to the moon, the space shuttleprogram, the space station that orbits the earth, and the many other space exploration missionsthat have changed the way people view Earth’s solar system and surrounding planets. In the pastthirty years the space shuttle program has sent over “350 astronauts from 20 nations into space,servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, and finally linking up the Mir Space Station from formeradversaries and building the International Space Station” ("AIA..."). Recently however, NASA’sspace shuttle program has come to an end. As of July 2011, NASA’s space shuttle program wasdiscontinued, resulting in the loss of jobs of many workers and employees. On the other hand,NASA intends to develop new systems of space exploration and technology to improve theUnited States continuation in space exploration. Therefore, it is imperative that NASA continuesthis research, as 58% of Americans agree that the United States should continue spaceexploration ("AIA..."). Obviously, NASA has had a major impact on the development of thespace industry and the United States as a whole, and, hopefully, NASA will continue to lead theworld in space exploration and travel. Rockets have played an important role in the advancement of the human race. From theinvention of rockets by the ancient Chinese, to the space race between the United States and theSoviet Union, and finally to explorations of planets and the surrounding solar system, mankinds
Anglin 9knowledge and understanding of both the solar system and his own potential has grownexponentially. In turn, mankinds strive for a better understanding of the universe has greatlyaffected the growth of the human race and technologies which he possesses. Technology ofspace exploration and even technologies used by people everyday would not be here if it werenot for the men and women who strived for a better understanding of life. One also must notforget that in order for the human race as a whole to advance and grow as a society and a species,innovated ways of thinking must continue to be promoted along with a strive for success andhappiness. Humans learn through successes and failures throughout history, and the success ofones achievements and ideas is determined by the initiative of that person to achieve greatness.Therefore, where will new technologies in space exploration take the human race? Will it be newplanet or a discovery of a new species? Only those who strive to achieve will ever know theanswer.
Anglin 10 Works CitedKaplan, Marshall H. “Accessing Space.” Space Sciences. Ed. Pat Dasch. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2002. 1-4. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 Sept. 2011. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?action=interpret&id=GALE %7CCX3408800013&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&authCount=1>.“National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).” Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 31 Aug. 2011. <http://www.school.eb.com/eb/article-9054947?query=space%20shuttles&ct=>.Robinson, Stephen. “Spaceflight, History of.” Mathematics. Ed. Barry Max Brandenberger, Jr. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2002. 46-50. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 Sept. 2011. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do? action=interpret&id=GALE %7CCX3407500285&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&authCount=1>.“technology, history of.” Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 31 Aug. 2011. <http://www.school.eb.com/eb/article-14909>.Van Riper, A. Bowdoin. Rockets and Missles: The Life Story of a Technology. Wesport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print.“AIA Marks End of an Era with Last Shuttle Launch.” Defense & Aerospace Week: n. pag. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 12 Sept. 2011. <http://find.galegroup.com/gic/retrieve.do?contentSet=IAC- Documents&sort=DateDescend&tabID=T004&searchId=R1&docId=A262328135&prod Id=GIC¤tPosition=2&userGroupName=cant48040&resultListType=RESULT_LI ST&sgHitCountType=None&qrySerId=Locale%28en%2C%2C%29%3AFQE%3D