By Mary Bellis
Rocket and missile systems are a variety of weapons systems that deliver explosive warheads to their targets by means of rocket propulsion. A rocket is a general term that describes a jet-propelled missile which is propelled forward from the rearward ejection of matter, like hot gases at a high velocity. Rocketry was developed in China, where firework displays and gunpowder were invented. In the 18th century, Hyder Ali, prince of Mysore, India, developed the first war rockets that used metal cylinders to hold the combustion powder needed for propulsion.
Robert Goddard invented liquid-fueled rockets and a control mechanism for rocket apparatus. During World War I, Goddard developed a number of designs of small military rockets to be launched from a lightweight hand launcher, they became the forerunners of the bazooka of World War II.
Strategic ballistic missiles can be divided into two general categories according to their basing mode: those that are launched from land and those launched at sea (from submarines beneath the surface).
The precursor of modern ballistic missiles was the German V-2, a single-stage, fin-stabilized missile propelled by liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol to a maximum range of about 200 miles.
Wernher von Braun
The V-2 Missile was developed in Germany from 1936 through the efforts of scientists led by Wernher von Braun. It was first successfully launched on October 3, 1942, and was fired against Paris on September 6, 1944.
Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) was one of the most important rocket developers and champions of space exploration during the period between the 1930s and the 1970s.
Walter Robert Dornberger
Walter Robert Dornberger was the engineer who directed construction of the German V-2 rocket during World War II.