Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Rusian scientist and inventor, c 1920s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) a pioneer in rocket and space research, lost his hearing almost completely at the age of nine, after which he was taught mostly at home. In the mid 1880s he began research in aerostatics, publishing articles containing plans for a metal dirigible (1892), an aeroplane (1894) and a spaceship (1903). During the 1920s Tsiolkovsky expanded on his theories of multistage rockets and of the flight of jet engines. A crater on the Moon's far side is named after him.