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National pride and the birth of the rocket

Since many experimenters dabbled with steam, powder and liquid-fueled rockets throughout the centuries between the experiments of Archytas and Goddard, it is probably impossible to crown any one person with the august title of inventor of the rocket.

What's in the Sky: Saturn is in the evening sky in the east this weekend. The Ringed Planet reaches peak brilliance at opposition March 21. Saturn (magnitude -0.5) is shining in the constellation Virgo. The stunning elliptical galaxy Messier 49 (M49 aka NGC 4472) is the brightest galaxy of the Virgo cluster.

Louis Varricchio, M.Sc., was a senior science writer at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. He is a member of NASA's JPL Solar System Ambassador Program in Vermont. He is the recipient of the USAF's U.S. Civil Air Patrol's Maj. Gen. Chuck Yeager Aerospace Education Achievement Award.You can e-mail him at aerospacehorizons@gmail.com.

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