Before Space Flight

This month Rita Bay’s Blog will salute the United States’ Manned Space Program as it apparently ended last month with no concrete plans for the future.  We’ll look at where the United States space program has been in text and pics, its’ successes and failures, and consider the future based on the experts’ and politicians’ own words.  RB

Von Braun

Robert H. Goddard’s introduced the concept of spaceflight in 1919 with the publication about liquid fuel rockets that provided enough power for interplanetary travel to become possible. In 1926 Goddard launched the first successful rocket  fuelled by liquid propellant.

The first rocket to reach space, however, was a German V-2 Rocket on a test flight in 1944.  Goddard’s work had influenced Wernher Von Braun who was a key player in spaceflight. The German government had invested huge personnel and financial resources to develop their very successful missile program.  At the end of World War II, Von Braun and other German scientists were brought to the United States to work on the United States’ manned and unmanned programs. They developed rocket engines to carry fuel and the oxidizer needed for launches and to manage other engineering problems.


The United States began developing larger rockets in the 1940s which were tested White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico and Cape Canaveral in Florida. In 1955, the United States began working on satellites with the goal of placing a small payload of scientific instruments in space to study the upper atmosphere. But the USSR was working hard also and the USA was in for a nasty surprise. 

Tomorrow, The Beginning of Space Flight.   Rita Bay

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