Encyclopedia Astronautica
Tsiolkovsky



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Tsiolkovsky ship
Detail of crew levels of Tsiolkovsky's manned rocket design
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Tsiolkovsky rocket
Tsiolkovsky's manned rocket design
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Tsiolkovsky rocket
Tsiolkovsky's manned rocket design
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Tsiolkovsky sketch
Tsiolkovsky sketch of rocket
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Tsiolkovsky sketch
Tsiolkovsky sketch of rocket
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian orbital launch vehicle. Tsiolkovsky was the first to propose the use of liquid hydrogen and oxygen to propel a rocket, and calculated its performance using the crucial rocket equation V = c ln(Mo/ Me).

Tsiolkovskiy described his rocket in 1903 as follows:

Visualize . . . an elongated metal chamber . . . designed to protect not only the various physical instruments but also a human pilot . . . . The chamber is partly occupied by a large store of substances which, on being mixed, immediately form an explosive mass. This mixture, on exploding in a controlled and fairly uniform manner at a chosen point, flows in the form of hot gases through tubes with flared ends, shaped like a cornucopia or a trumpet. These tubes are arranged lengthwise along the walls of the chamber. At the narrow end of the tube the explosives are mixed: this is where the dense, burning gases are obtained. After undergoing intensive rarefaction and cooling, the gases explode outward into space at a tremendous relative velocity at the other, flared end of the tube. Clearly, under definite conditions , such a projectile will ascend like a rocket . . . . The two liquid gases are separated by a partition. The place where the gases are mixed and exploded is shown, as is the flared outlet for the intensely rarefied and cooled vapors. The tube is surrounded by a jacket with a rapidly circulating liquid metal [mercury]. The control surfaces serving to steer the rocket are also visible.

Status: Design 1903.

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