In 1914, Goddard patented the first rocket and, in 1926, Goddard fired the first liquid-fueled rocket. Goddard predicted rockets would one day enable space flight, a prediction widely ridiculed as science fiction.

Eventually, in 1929, Oberth fired his modern liquid-fueled rocket. Oberth eventually taught Wernher von Braun, who perfect modern rocketry. In time, both Oberth and von Braun built rockets for the Nazis and may have been Nazi Party members.

Rockets were first used as weapons. No sooner did they perfect the technology than nazi’s launched their V-2 rockets indiscriminately into the United Kingdom towards the end of WWII. Slave labor in Nazi concentration camps built the V-2 rockets. Consequently, after the Nazi surrender, the German rocket engineers – including von Braun – surrendered to the United States. The Soviet Union also captures significant Nazi rocketry technology.

Eventually, on Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first manmade orbital satellite. After several attempts with monkeys (and, some say, people), the Soviets followed up launching Yuri Gagarin into space on April 12, 1961.

In a rocketry program overseen by former Nazi von Braun, the US followed up by blasting American Alan Shepard into Space. von Braun went on to oversee the US space program, supervising the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions.