1957-10-07 USSR Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935)

FDC with Khimki postmark 7 October 1957.
The first known suggestion that men might launch and make use of an artificial satellite of the earth appeared in a story in 1869, The Brick Moon, written by the U.S. clergyman and author Edward Everett Hale. the brick moon of the tale was placed in orbit in order to serve as a navigational aid to ships at sea. Whatever other merits the story may have had, the use of an artificial satellite was a far-reaching concept that was not realized until nearly a century had passed.

In the 1920's and 1930's the concept received some attention by pioneers in rocketry and astronautics such as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky of the Soviet Union and Hermann Oberth of Germany. They pointed out some of the advantages that would be obtained by placing rocket-launched satellite payloads into orbit, particularly if men were aboard.

The Russian mathematician Konstantin Tsiolkovsky pointed out the possibilities of rocket flight in the 1890's. Robert Goddard, the American physicist, pioneered the development of the rocket for exploration of the upper atmosphere of the earth in the 1920's and 1930's, and a German group under Hermann Oberth undertook studies on interplanetary travel during the 1920's.