According to historians, the Chinese built the first working rockets. They were also the first to use them for military purposes. In AD 1232, some ingenious military leader used arrows powered by small gunpowder rockets to successfully defend the city of K'ai-Fung-Foo against the invading Mongols.
During this time one Chinese official hit on the idea of using rockets to propel a man through the air. It was in about 1500 that Wan Hu fastened two kites together with a chair in between. He then tied a series of military rockets to the kites and asked a group of coolies to light the rockets. Not wanting to miss out on the chance for fame, Wan Hu decided to be his own test pilot. According to reports, he sat in the chair and gave the order to light the rockets. There was a lot of noise and a great burst of flame and smoke, which blocked everyone's vision. When the smoke cleared, Wan Hu was gone!
The Rocket up to the Ground
In 1931 Johannes Winkler launched his HW-1 rocket. It went 1.9 metres (2 yards) into the air, turned over and fell back to the ground.