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Science Faction: A History of Space Exploration
Space Exploration from the Golden Age to the Age of Anxiety and Beyond

A chronological history of space exploration around the world.


Where should we begin in a chronological history of space exploration? Should it begin on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union shocked the world by being the first to launch a satellite into space - the Sputnik?

Or should it begin in March, 1950, when various scientists decided to attempt to arrange world-wide scientific exploration of an International Geophysical Year, in the year 1957, because in that year would be the high point of the eleven-year cycle of sunspot activity, and over 67 countries would eventually participate in studying the well as the earth.

Or should it begin on January 13, 1920, the day after the New York Times printed an article on Robert Goddard and his dreams of sending a rocket to the moon. The following day, an editorial in the same newspaper ridiculed the concept.

Or should it begin in 1865, with the publication of Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, the first science fiction tale (although science fiction was not a term then in use) in which humans journeyed to the Moon using scientific principles - albeit impractical ones.

We're going to begin, however, around 1857, which was the year in which Russian rocket scientist, Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was born.

We won't go back any further than that, for example way back to 1752, when French author Voltaire published Micromegas, which recounts the visit to Earth of a being from a planet circling the star Sirius and his companion from the planet Saturn.

Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky , (September 17 [O.S. September 5] 1857 ? September 19, 1935)

To be continued.

This page last updated August 19, 2007.

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