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    Handwritten paper entitled "Space Rocket" by the Father of Astronautics

    Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Illustrated 1925 Autograph Manuscript Signed Multiple Times, with 1926-dated Supplement. The main document consists of twenty-five handwritten pages (plus one inserted pencil drawing of 10" x 6.25"), 5.5" x 8.75", in ink on toned lightweight paper, loosely bound. The title page reads (translated from Russian): "Space Rocket/ (Experimental preparation)/ The description of the most important parts of the apparatus (rocket)/ Done on the basis of the previous work/ The drawings are enclosed./ Kaluga 1925/ K. Tsiolkovsky". There are additional signatures on pages 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, & 24. Hand-rendered drawings are found on pages 2, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, & 20. A few excerpts from the pages:

    "Starting this work, I am clearly aware of its necessity. The way from constructing an experimental mechanism (now) to a space rocket is immensely difficult but it must be started immediately".

    "I come to the most important part of the apparatus. I have been working at the development of the explosive tube (combustion chamber) for a long time. The variants were suggested in 1903, 1914, 1915. I consider the most correct variant suggested in 1915, that is the explosive tube (com. Chamber) of the conic form".

    "Comrade Lederman says that nobody will place the Control surface in front. Even fish and birds have their 'control surface' at the back part of the body".

    He finishes the discourse with a summary: "Let's review the whole apparatus in order to get a better idea of the necessary qualities of different materials it is made of. (1) The apparatus must remain whole and the explosive tube (combustion chamber) must not be entirely destroyed after all the explosives have been used. (2) The weight of the apparatus must be the lowest. (3) The reactive pressure must be the highest according to the quality of the combustion products and how rapidly they are used. (4) For this the combustion must be as complete as possible. (5) The temperature of the gases that flow from the tube must be the lowest. (6) The apparatus must turn in accordance with the wish of the experienced man and keep the desirable direction. (7) The work of the pump must not be great. All the experiments must be carried out skillfully and very carefully. We must not consider our theoretical statements to be absolutely correct. The experiments must be directed by us. Kalug. July 1925. K. Tsiolkivsky".

    The second document is possibly even more interesting. It was included with the above manuscript and consists of 8 pages, same size as above, signed four times, on pages 1, 3, 5, & 8; drawings are found on pages 2, 3, 4, & 6. It addresses the men (cosmonauts) who will actually fly in the rockets. A few fascinating quotes:

    "Some remarks on preparing a man (a pilot = a cosmonaut) for travelling in the rocket."

    "A man represents itself a mechanism, which needs care and adjustment, so it is necessary to adapt the organism to the difficulties during travelling."

    "It is necessary to work out special overalls (suits) like diving suits, test different materials and improve them."

    "Rocketmen must be specially trained (in the mountains and on the water). Aviators, military people must be selected."

    He sums up this treatise with: "Here is a short plan - what we should begin with. (1) to set up an institution which would take upon itself the whole organizational process; (2) to enlist the best scientists and specialists work in this institution; (3) to provide with materials, equipment, instruments, devices and money; (4) to allocate special space for conducting experiments and tests on launches."

    It would seem that he is describing NASA 30+ years before it was formed! Included with both documents are typed transcripts in English, handwritten transcripts in Russian, and photocopies of all pages. The condition is fair, the ink is fading and the paper is rough and toned. Still, an incredibly important work by a true legend in rocket science, worthy of an advanced collection, museum, or institution.

    Born in 1857, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was rendered deaf during a childhood bout with scarlet fever. He was largely self-taught and his first formal employment was as a "people's school teacher" in 1878. Although without any resources outside of his meager salary, Tsiolkovsky conducted his own engineering research. In 1883, he demonstrated the reaction principle while experimenting with opening a cask filled with compressed gas. In 1898 he finished a design of a reaction thrust motor. The following year, the Physics and Mathematics Department of the Academy of Science granted him 470 rubles to further research the principles of the reaction thrust motor. Tsiolkovsky published his first article on rocketry in 1903. It was a discussion of how a reaction thrust motor could demonstrate Newton's Third Law, allowing men to escape the gravitational force of the earth. In the same year the scientist produced his first design for a rocket. According to Tsiolkovsky's plan, the vessel was to be powered by a combination of liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Mixing at the end of a tube, the fuels would produce condensed and heated gases. Tsiolkovsky also hypothesized the creation of a "rocket train" (see below), a multistage rocket ship the layers of which would be discarded as the fuel they carried was consumed. In 1919 he was elected to the Socialist Academy (later the U.S.S.R. Academy of Science). During the course of this life, Tsiolkovsky produced approximately sixty works on physics, astronomy, and astronautics. In 1935 he published Na Lune (On the Moon), a compilation of descriptions of rockets and the other pieces of machinery required for spaceflights.


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