Science: Two Stages to Space

Rocket enthusiasts have dreamed for years of "multistage" rockets with detachable sections that drop off, one by one, after their fuel is exhausted. Dr. Robert H. Goddard, U.S. father of rocketing, patented such a missile, but never succeeded in building one. During World War II, the Germans toyed with the idea. One of their antiaircraft rockets, the unsuccessful Rheintochter (Rhinemaiden), was pushed into the air by a booster that dropped off after rising a mile and a quarter. But no one shot a multi-stage rocket to really high altitudes.

Last week, U.S. Army Ordnance...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!