How Have Rockets Changed Over Time?

While it's unknown when the first rockets came into existence, many ancient cultures have documented the usage of primitive rocket-like flying devices. In the first century A.D., the Chinese are said to have filled tubes with homemade gunpowder and attached them to bamboo sticks to create objects that could be launched into the air. Since then, rockets have been involved in everything from international warfare to space exploration.

English scientist Sir Isaac Newton is credited for the invention of modern rocketry in the late 17th century using his scientific understanding of the concept of motion in the vacuum of outer space. From there, the late 18th century and early 19th century saw rockets being used increasingly as a weapon in national militaries.

As the application of rockets increases, so did their features. In 1898, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a teacher from Russia said to be the father of modern astronautics, believed that rockets could be used to explore the outer space in depth and suggested that liquid propellants rather than solid fuel could be used to increase the range in which rockets could travel. This idea of a rocket was used increasing in Russia and the United States during the Cold War and in 1957, the first satellite was sent into outer space.