Wernher von Braun: Apollo Architect
Wernher von Braun after surrendering to U.S. forces German rocket engineer Wernher von Braun (with arm in cast) and his brother Magnus (second from right) after surrendering to U.S. forces, May 2, 1945. MSFC/NASA

Wernher von Braun: Apollo Architect

Wernher von Braun was a German engineer who played a prominent role in all aspects of rocketry and space exploration, first in Germany and after World War II in the United States. He designed and developed the German V-2 rocket and was the Chief Architect of the Saturn V rocket, designed primarily for the Apollo Space Missions. Dr. Wernher von Braun Photo credits: NASA As a youth, he became enamored with the possibilities of space exploration by reading the work of…

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Pedro Paulet: Peruvian Space Age Pioneer
Pedro Paulet, padre de la Aeronaútica Moderna

Pedro Paulet: Peruvian Space Age Pioneer

Pedro Eleodoro Paulet Mostajo (July 2, 1874 – January 30, 1945) was a Peruvian diplomat who allegedly in 1895 was the first person to build a liquid-propellant rocket engine and, in 1900, the first person to build a modern rocket propulsion system. German V-2 inventor Wernher von Braun considered Paulet one of the "fathers of aeronautics." Pedro Paulet, padre de la Aeronaútica Moderna The first practical working liquid propellant rocket motor was claimed by Paulet in1895. He operated a conical motor,…

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Robert Goddard: 1st Liquid-Fuel Rocket
Goddard loading a bazooka in 1918 Photo Credits: NASA

Robert Goddard: 1st Liquid-Fuel Rocket

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”Robert H. Goddard Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard (1882-1945) is considered the father of modern rocket propulsion. Goddard was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on October 5, 1882. He was often ill as a child and had extended absences from school. He attended college at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he received his BS in 1908. From there, he went on…

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Delta II: 100 successful missions in a row!
Delta rocket evolution. Credits: US Air Force

Delta II: 100 successful missions in a row!

At a rate of 98.7%, and 155 launches for nearly 30 years, the Delta II rocket was a reliable workhorse that launched numerous spacecraft away from Earth. Delta II is part of the Delta rocket family and was designed by McDonnell Douglas. The rocket flew its final mission ICESat-2 on 15 September 2018, earning the launch vehicle a streak of 100 successful missions in a row, with the last failure being GPS IIR-1 in 1997. Delta II 7925 Heavy after ignition…

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Proton-K: Taking first lander to Mars!

Not many rockets get to live long to go for 300+ launches! Proton-K, by the time it retired on 30th March 2012, had completed 310 launches! That's an incredible feat, especially recognizing the fact that the first launch was in 1967. The Proton-K, also designated Proton 8K82K after its GRAU index, 8K82K, was a Russian, previously Soviet, carrier rocket derived from the earlier Proton. It was built by Khrunichev, and launched from sites 81 and 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in…

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Vega: Italian Star Rocket!
Aeolus lifts off on Vega Photo credits: European Space Agency

Vega: Italian Star Rocket!

Vega is an acronym that means — Vettore Europeo di Generazione Avanzata (Italian), or Vecteur européen de génération avancée (French), or European Vector of Advanced Generation (English) meaning "Advanced generation European carrier rocket". It is an expendable launch system in use by Arianespace jointly developed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Italy is the leading contributor to the Vega program (65%), followed by France (13%). Other participants include Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden.…

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Long March 3B/E: Taking China to the Moon
A Long March-3B rocket carrying two new-generation satellites for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwest China’s Sichuan Province, July 25, 2015. Photo Credit: Xinhua / Zhu Zheng

Long March 3B/E: Taking China to the Moon

The Long March 3B is a Chinese orbital launch vehicle having three stages, with an optional fourth stage. The rocket has four liquid-fueled side boosters, and was first launched in 1996. The Long March rockets have subsequently maintained an excellent reliability record. Since 2010, Long March launches have made up 15–25% of all space launches globally. A Long March-3B rocket carrying two new-generation satellites for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the…

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Ariane 5: 100 launches and still firing!
Ariane 5 in full glory! Photo Credits: ESA

Ariane 5: 100 launches and still firing!

A rocket that created a streak of 82 successful launches! Yes, you read it right! 82 successful launch in a row, with a total of 109 launches as of date and still more to go. Ariane 5 is one of the most successful heavy-lift launch vehicle developed and operated by Arianespace for the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA originally designed Ariane 5 to launch the Hermes spaceplane, and thus it is rated for human space launches. After the launch of 15…

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