The Rocket – China’s Great Invention
September 3, 2010 | In: History facts
Rockets already existed when Isaac Newton described how a cannon could theoretically fire around the world. They were invented most likely by the Chinese in the thirteenth century. The early Chinese rockets were essentially arrows with a small rocket tube attached to the side. They had a range of about 200 meters (200 yards).
Between 1300 and 1800 there were advances in rocketry, but even greater advances in gunnery left rockets behind and almost forgotten. But then, in India, the Prince of Mysore bombarded the English with 12-pound rockets made of iron. This spurred the English to create the British Rocket Corps and brought rockets once more to the attention of the West.
During the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key witnessed British rockets firing on Ft. McHenry, and wrote a song about “the rockets’ red glare” that became the American national anthem.
In 1970, the Chinese returned to the frontier of rocketry by becoming the fifth nation to launch a satellite. Today, their Chang Zheng — “Long March” — rockets are important competitors in the international marketplace for launching commercial satellites.