Jules Gabriel Verne
French author who is arguably the "Father of Science Fiction." His novel From the Earth to the Moon (1865) is believed to have inspired the early rocketry pioneers.
Konstantin Eduardovitch Tsiolkovsky
Although he never built any rockets, he wrote over 500 papers on rocketry, space and many other subjects. Inspired by the novels of Jules Verne, Tsiolkovsky was passionate about the possibility of space travel. To a large degree, his work inspired the generation of Russian scientists and engineers who would ignite the space race.
Robert Hutchins Goddard
Among the pioneers, Goddard was the builder, the engineer, the doer! He actually built dozens of prototypes and conducted literally hundreds of experiments. More than 18 years after his successful liquid fuel rocket demonstration, Goddard's pioneering vision really came to life in the German V-2 missile. In his now famous 1920 report "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes," Goddard mathematically derived "escape velocity" and outlined the possibility of a rocket reaching the moon.
"Because that is the goal: To secure any place on which life can exist and prosper, give life to any dead world, and to give purpose to any living world," Hermann Oberth, "Men into Space," 1954. His works "The Rocket into Interplanetary Space" (1923), and "Ways to Travel in Space" (1929), established the scientific basis for space exploration. Oberth was the scientific consultant for the UFA-Film Co., which produced the first space movie of the world: "Women on the Moon."