Modern aerospace began with Sir George Cayley in 1799. Cayley proposed an aircraft with a “fixed wing and a horizontal and vertical tail,” defining characteristics of the modern airplane.

The 19th century saw the creation of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain, the American Rocketry Society, and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, all of which made aeronautics a more serious scientific discipline. Airmen like Otto Lilienthal, who introduced cambered airfoils in 1891, used gliders to analyze aerodynamic forces.The Wright brothers were interested in Lilianthal’s work and read several of his publications.They also found inspiration in Octave Chanute, an airman and the author of Progress in Flying Machines (1894).It was the preliminary work of Cayley, Lilienthal, Chanute, and other early aerospace engineers that brought about the first powered sustained flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903, by the Wright brothers.

War and science fiction inspired great minds like Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Werner von Braun to achieve flight beyond the atmosphere.

The launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 started the Space Age, and on July 20th,1969 Apollo 11 achieved the first manned moon landing.In 1981, the space shuttle “Columbia” launched, the start of regular manned access to orbital space. A sustained human presence in orbital space started with “Mir” in 1986 and is continued by the “International Space Station”. Space commercialization and space tourism are more recent focuses in aerospace.

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