Space Exploration Chronology: 1900 - 1909 | Tsiolkovsky | Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity

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Konstantin Tsiolkovsky publishes The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices

Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky

In his ground breaking book, Tsiolkovsky calculated what velocity is required to successfully orbit the Earth. In conclusion, he stated that a takeoff could be achieved with a multistage rocket fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. His scientific calculations and vision are now considered to have been ahead of his time. Contrary to his expectations, this published work did not gain him wide popularity at the time. Nevertheless, he continued to work on theories of space flight and his later works did result in fame and recognition.*

Tsiolkovsky's manned rocket designs
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Credit: NASA/

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Albert Einstein publishes his Special Theory of Relativity, revolutionizing astrophysics and our understanding of time and space

Albert Einstein, 1905

The Special Theory of Relativity proposed that space and time were part of a single fabric, in which they could be bent and are relative to one another. This work was a derivative of calculations based on measurements and implications of the maximum speed of light.

Contrary to previous concepts, Einstein stated that ones proximity to an object of great mass has implications on the dimensions of empty space and alter velocity of time. Space and time are not fixed, but related to the vantage point of participants or observers. Understanding this concept became crucial with the development of Global Positioning System but will have even more practical implications in a more distant future.

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