Hermann Julius Oberth

1894–1989, born in Hermannstadt, Austria-Hungary

An ethnic German from Transylvania, Oberth came to his spaceflight and rocket insights before World War I. In 1923 he published the book, The Rocket into Interplanetary Space. In it he discussed the feasibility of humans traveling beyond Earth, laid out the basic equations of rocketry, and described how liquid propellants could vastly exceed the performance of gunpowder rockets. Oberth’s work inspired an explosion of interest in space travel in the German-speaking world.

Hermann Julius Oberth was born in Hermannstadt, Austria-Hungary, in 1894. In 1923 he published The Rocket into Interplanetary Space.

Hermann Oberth (center, in profile) demonstrated a liquid-fuel rocket engine in Berlin in 1930. Second from the right is Wernher von Braun.