Rocketry plays an important role in today's technology. We would be lacking accurate weather forecasts, space exploration, and accurate navigation ads without the invention of the rocket.
The Chinese were the first to invent gunpowder, through experimentation they found that gunpowder filled tubes were able to propel themselves in the air. Thus, the first rocket was built. These simple rockets were similar to the bottle rockets fired off on the 4th of July.
The first documented use of rockets as a weapon is in 1232 AD when the Chinese were fighting the invading Mongols. These rockets were arrows with a tube of gunpowder strapped to the front of the rocket. The arrow stabilized the rocket so that the rocket would fly in a predictable manner. These rockets were probably not too effective as a weapon.
In the 13th century Roger Bacon, an English monk, refined gunpowder which caused rockets to have longer range. In the 16th century the multi-stage rocket was invented by Johann Schmidlap, a German fireworks maker. He took a large rocket and a small rocket and placed them end to end. He ignited the larger rocket and when it burnt out the small one would start. This idea is still used today.
In the 17th century Sir Isaac Newton developed the three motion laws of physics. These laws explained how rockets work and that rockets could be used in the vacuum of outer space.
In the 18th century a British artillery expert named William Congreve designed rockets for military use. These rockets were used by the British against the Americans in the War of 1812.
William Hayle, a British researcher developed spin stabilization to increase the accuracy of the rocket. This form of stabilization is used in bullets when they leave the barrel of a gun. The spinning action causes a "gyroscopic" effect which makes it more difficult to change the direction of the projectile.
A new revelation in rocketry came in the 20th century with the inventor Robert H Goddard, also known as "the father of modern rocketry." Robert Goddard experimented with rockets as a kid and was inspired by reading H.G. Wells science fiction. He first experimented with solid fuel rockets, but later saw the advantages of using a liquid fuel rocket. His first liquid fuel rocket was built in 1926. The rocket mixed gasoline with liquid oxygen then lit the mixture to create thrust. Goddards rocket looked like a child's jungle gym and flew for only two and a half seconds. It's launch propelled the rocket 12.5 meters and landed in a cabbage patch over 50 meters away. This first launch paved the way for future rockets that propel space probes into the deepest parts of our solar system.
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