Apr 12th 2016

From Goddard to Apollo: The History of Rockets, Part 1 (edX)

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Explore rocket science from ancient Chinese weaponry to NASA’s race to get a man on the moon. Learn about one of the greatest engineering efforts in human history: NASA’s Project Apollo and the space race to put a man on the moon. Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, just eleven years after the first successful satellite launch (Sputnik in 1957) and forty-three years after Robert Goddard’s launch of the world’s first liquid fueled rocket. But the history of rocket development actually can be traced back more than 2,000 years to the experiments of Archytas, an ancient Greek Philosopher.

This aerospace history course will take you back in time and trace the many developments in technology that transformed rockets from celebratory accouterments to weapons and finally to launchpads for human space travel. It is a story of technology, but ultimately the emphasis on this course is about people. Some are very well-known, but others not so.

You will learn how the Chinese introduced rockets as weapons, how early experimenters succeeded through trial and error, how scientific advancement provided the foundation for rocket development and space travel, and how rocket use spread throughout the world prior to the modern era. Finally, you will be introduced to the contributions of rocket pioneers such as Tsiolkovsky, Oberth and Goddard who dreamed of and paved the way for space travel. The course culminates with an introduction of German rocket development in the early 1930s and the emergence the genius rocket engineer Wehner von Braun.

What you'll learn:

- The technical evolution of early rocket development

- The contributions of the early rocket pioneers

- How the advancement of science and the laws of motion impacted rocket development

- How fiction influenced the modern rocket pioneers

- The contributions of the modern rocket pioneers and their predictors for rocket development