The idea that the reaction principle is suitable for the propulsion of space vehicles is not new. Around 1660,
the Frenchman Cyrano de Bergerac in his novels described, to be sure in a very fantastic way, space travels in vehicles lifted by rockets. Not much later, the famous English scholar Isaac Newton pointed out in a scientific form the possibilities of being able to move forward even in a vacuum using the reaction process. In 1841, the Englishman Charles Golightly registered a patent for a rocket flight machine. Around 1890, the German Hermann Ganswindt and a few years later the Russian Tsiolkovsky made similar suggestions public for the first time. Similarly, the famous French author Jules Verne discussed in one of his writings the application of rockets for purposes of propulsion, although only in passing. The idea of a space ship powered by the effects of rockets emerged, however, very definitely in a novel by the German physicist Kurt Lauwitz.
Yet only in the most recent times, have serious scientific advances been undertaken in this discipline, and indeed apparently from many sides at the same time: a relevant work by Professor Dr. Robert H. Goddard appeared in 1919. The work of Professor Hermann Oberth, a Transylvanian Saxon, followed in 1923. A popular representation by Max Valier, an author from Munich, was produced in 1924, and a study by Dr. Walter Hohmann, an engineer from Essen, in 1925. Publications by Dr. Franz Edler von Hoefft, a chemist from Vienna, followed in 1926. New relevant writings by Tsiolkovsky, a Russian professor, were published in 1925 and 1927.*
Also, several novels, which treated the space flight problem by building on the results of the most recent scientific research specified above, have appeared in the last few years, in particular, those from Otto Willi Gail standing out.
Before we turn our attention now to the discussion of the various recommendations known to date, something first must be said regarding the fundamentals of the technology of motion and of the structure of rocket space vehicles.