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Rockets A Brief History Timeline


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created for 5th grade science classroom

Rockets A Brief History Timeline

  1. 1. Rockets A Brief Timeline of History
  2. 2. Early Rockets • Around 300 BC, the Greek Archytas amazed the city of Tarentum by flying a model pigeon that was propelled by escaping water vapors. • Around 50 BC, Hero of Alexandria created an aeolipile, which was a sphere mounted by pipes that connected the sphere with a pot of boiling water. The water vapor escaped through two “L-shaped” pipes, causing the sphere to rotate.
  3. 3. Chinese Fire Arrows • Around 100 AD, the Chinese created simple rockets. They filled hollow pieces of bamboo with gunpowder and ignited them. • Rockets were first used as actual weapons in the battle of Kai-fung-fu in 1232 A.D. • These simple rockets are most like today’s fireworks.
  4. 4. Won Who – Wan Hu • Hu created a rocket- powered chair. • The chair was made of bamboo and was attached to 47 fire arrows. • When the smoke from the rockets cleared, Hu and his chair were gone.
  5. 5. Developments of the Rocket • In the 15th century, several improvements were made to the rocket. – In England, a monk worked on improved forms of gunpowder that greatly increased the range of rockets. – In France, Jean Froissart found that more accurate flights could be achieved by launching rockets through tubes. – A man in Italy designed a surface-running rocket- powered torpedo for setting enemy ships on fire.
  6. 6. Newton’s Three Laws • At the end of the 17th century, the scientific foundations that apply to all modern rocketry were laid by Sir Isaac Newton. – Newton expressed his understanding of physical motion via three scientific laws. • About 1720, a Dutch professor, Willem Gravesande, built model cars propelled by jets of steam.
  7. 7. Weapons Again • Toward the end of the 18th century and early into the 19th century, rockets came back as weapons for a brief period of time. – The success of rockets against the British in 1792 and 1799 caught the interest of an artillery expert, Colonel William Congreve, who decided to design rockets for use by the British military. – The Congreve rockets were the ones that inspired “the rocket’s red glare” in the Star-Spangled Banner.
  8. 8. Rockets As Inventions • As far back as 1821, sailors hunted whales using rocket-propelled harpoons. – These rocket harpoons were launched form a shoulder-held tube equipped with a circular blast shield. • By 1870, American and British inventors had found other ways to use rockets. – For example, the Congreve rocket was capable of carrying a line over 1000 feet to a stranded ship. – In 1914, an estimated 1,000 lives were saved by this technique.
  9. 9. Inventions Cont’d • Later on experimenters in America, Europe and elsewhere attempted to build postal rockets to deliver mail from one location to another. The idea was more novel than successful. In many cases, however, the stamps used in these early postal rockets have become collector's items.
  10. 10. Was space travel possible? • In 1898, a Russian schoolteacher, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, proposed the idea of space exploration by rocket. • In 1903, he published a report entitled Exploration of the Universe with Rocket Propelled Vehicles. • In the report, he suggested the use of liquid propellants for rockets in order to achieve greater range.
  11. 11. Robert Goddard • In the early 20th Century (1900s), American scientist Robert Goddard started experimenting with rockets. – On March 16, 1926, Goddard became the first to successfully launch a liquid fueled rocket. – He became known as “the father of modern rocketry”.
  12. 12. Wernher von Braun • Wernher von Braun was a German scientist that developed the V-2 rocket in the early 1940s, for use in WWII. – The V-2 rocket was very small but capable of carrying a 1 ton (2000 lb) warhead from Germany to London.
  13. 13. The Beginning of the Space Race • After WWII, the United States and the former USSR rushed to Germany to get the rocket technology and the rocket scientists. • This began the space race. • The United States first began developing its space program with one of Goddard's early ideas. • On October 4, 1957, the world's first Earth-orbiting artificial satellite (Sputnik I) was launched by the USSR. Soon after, the USSR launched Sputnik II with the dog, Laika aboard.
  14. 14. Space Race Continues • A few months after the first Sputnik, the United States Army launched Explorer I on January 31, 1958. • In October 1958, the United States formally created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). • Rockets kept being improved. • The United States won the “Space Race” by being the first to put a man on the moon.
  15. 15. Apollo Rockets • The rockets used to launch the Apollo missions (and others around them) were part of the Saturn project. • The Saturn V rocket was the one used to send many Apollo missions and SkyLab into space.
  16. 16. Today’s Rockets • Today’s rockets are much more advanced than the early Chinese fireworks and fire arrows. • They are now reusable and more powerful. • Someday in the future, maybe they will be “cheap” enough for everyone to ride in a vehicle powered by a rocket.