Timeline of rocket and missile technology

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A depiction of the "long serpent" rocket launcher from the 11th century book Wujing Zongyao. The holes in the frame are designed to keep the fire arrows separate.

This article gives a concise timeline of rocket and missile technology.

11th century

17th century ~ 19th century

  • 1633 - Lagâri Hasan Çelebi launched in a 3-winged rocket using 500 okka (140 lbs) of gunpowder from Sarayburnu, the point below Topkapı Palace in Istanbul.[1]
  • 1650 - Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars prima ("Great Art of Artillery, the First Part") is printed in Amsterdam, about a year before the death of its author, Kazimierz Siemienowicz.
  • 1798 - Tipu Sultan, the King of the state of Mysore in India, develops and uses iron rockets against the British Army (see Mysorean rockets).
  • 1801 - The British Army develops the Congreve rocket based on weapons used against them by Tipu Sultan.
  • 1806 - Claude Ruggieri, an Italian living in France, launched animals on rockets and recovered them using parachutes. He was prevented from launching a child by police.[2]
  • 1813 - "A Treatise on the Motion of Rockets" by William Moore – first appearance of the rocket equation
  • 1865 - Jules Verne publishes From the Earth to the Moon as a humorous science fantasy story about a space gun launching a manned spacecraft equipped with rockets for landing on the Moon, but eventually used for another orbital maneuver.

20th century

  • 1902 - The first Moon Movie. A Trip to the Moon (French: Voyage dans la Lune)[a] is a French silent film directed by Georges Méliès.
  • 1903 - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky begins a series of papers discussing the use of rocketry to reach outer space, space suits, and colonization of the solar system. Two key points discussed in his works are liquid fuels and staging.
  • 1922 - Hermann Oberth publishes Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen ("By Rocket into Planetary Space").
  • 1926 - Robert Goddard launches the first liquid fuel rocket.
  • 1927 - Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR - "Spaceflight Society") founded in Germany.
  • 1929 - Woman in the Moon, considered to be one of the first "serious" science fiction films.
  • 1939 - Katyusha multiple rocket launchers (Russian: Катюша) are a type of rocket artillery first built and fielded by the Soviet Union.
  • 1941 - Jet Assisted Take Off JATO installed on US Army Air Corp Ercoup aircraft occurred on 12 August in March Field, California.
  • 1942 - Wernher von Braun and Walter Dornberger launch the first V-2 rocket at Peenemünde in northern Germany.
  • 1942 - A V-2 rocket becomes the first man-made object in space.
  • 1945 - Lothar Sieber dies after the first vertical take-off manned rocket flight in a Bachem Ba 349 "Natter"
  • 1949 - Willy Ley publishes The Conquest of Space
  • 1952 - Wernher von Braun discusses the technical details of a manned exploration of Mars in The Mars Project.
  • 1953 - Colliers Magazine publishes a series of articles on man's future in space, igniting the interest of people around the world. The series includes numerous articles by Ley and von Braun, illustrated by Chesley Bonestell.
  • 1957 - Launch of the first ICBM, the USSR's R-7 (8K71), known to NATO as the SS-6 Sapwood.
  • 1957 - The USSR launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite.
  • 1958 - The U.S. launches Explorer 1, the first American artificial satellite, on a Jupiter-C rocket.
  • 1958 - US launches their first ICBM, the Atlas-B (the Atlas-A was a test article only).
  • 1961 - the USSR launches Vostok 1, Yuri Gagarin reached a height of 327 km above Earth and was the first man to orbit earth.
  • 1961 - US, a Mercury capsule named Freedom 7 with Alan B. Shepard, spacecraft was launched by a Redstone rocket on a ballistic trajectory suborbital flight.
  • 1962 - The US launches Mercury MA-6 (Friendship 7) on an Atlas D booster, John Glenn finally puts America in orbit.
  • 1963 - The USSR launches Vostok 6, Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman (and first civilian) to orbit earth. She remained in space for nearly three days and orbited the earth 48 times.
  • 1963 - US X-15 rocket-plane, the first reusable manned spacecraft (suborbital) reaches space, pioneering reusability, carried launch and glide landings.
  • 1965 - USSR Proton rocket, highly successful launch vehicle with notable payloads, Salyut 6 & Salyut 7, Mir & ISS components
  • 1965 - Robert Salked investigates various single stage to orbit spaceplane concepts[3][4][5]
  • 1966 - USSR Luna 9, the first soft landing on the Moon
  • 1966 - USSR launches Soyuz spacecraft, longest-running series of spacecraft, eventually serving Soviet, Russian and International space missions.
  • 1969 - US Apollo 11, first men on the Moon, first lunar surface extravehicular activity.
  • 1981 - US space shuttle pioneers reusability and glide landings
  • 1998 - US Deep Space 1 is first deep space mission to use an ion thruster for propulsion.
  • 1998 - Russia launch Zarya module which is the first part of the International Space Station.

21st century

See also


  1. Winter, Frank H. (1992). "Who First Flew in a Rocket?", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 45 (July 1992), p. 275-80
  2. "MSFC History OFFICE: CLAUDE RUGGIERI". History.msfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved 30 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Salkeld Shuttle". Astronautix.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "ROBERT SALKELD'S". Pmview.com. Retrieved 30 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "STS-1 Further Reading". History.nasa.gov. Retrieved 30 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "First Space Tourist Dennis Tito to Make Business Visit to Russia". redOrbit. June 15, 2004. Retrieved February 27, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "SpaceShipOne Flight Tests". Scaled Composites.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Clark, Stephen (2008-09-28). "Sweet Success at Last for Falcon 1 Rocket". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2014-11-30. the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to successfully reach orbit.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Clark, Stephen (25 May 2012). "First commercial cargo ship arrives at space station". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Belfiore, Michael (April 22, 2014). "SpaceX Brings a Booster Safely Back to Earth". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved April 25, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Orwig, Jessica (2014-11-25). "Elon Musk Just Unveiled A Game-Changing Ocean Landing Pad For His Reusable Rockets". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-12-11. The first successful "soft landing" of a Falcon 9 rocket happened in April of this year<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Bergin, Chris (2014-12-17). "SpaceX confirms CRS-5 launch slip to January 6". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2014-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Bergin, Chris (2014-11-24). "SpaceX's Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship ready for action". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 2014-12-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Jeff Foust (December 21, 2015). "Falcon 9 Launches Orbcomm Satellites, Lands First Stage". SpaceNews. Retrieved 2015-12-22. the first time SpaceX had successfully landed the rocket’s first stage.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>