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A pioneering Russian aeronautical theorist and writer, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky is the father of the Soviet space program. He built the first wind tunnel and solved fundamental problems about space travel, such as use of liquid rocket fuel, long before such activity was feasible. Although he was unappreciated in his lifetime, Sputnik's launch was made to coincide with his centennial. His works and his ideas have become the scientific basis of the modern theory of jet propulsion. He foresaw the significance of jet propulsion and the conquest of the stratosphere, of flights at supersonic speeds.
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's tombstone bears the following prophetic words inscribed under the bas-relief of a rocket: "Mankind will not remain on the earth forever, but, in search of light and space, will at first timidly penetrate beyond the limits of the atmosphere and then finally conquer the spaces of the solar system."
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