I have a new article over at Sen (Space Exploration Network). It recounts the first 2,000 years (or so) of humanity's journey to the stars.
You might think you know the story, but there was a long and fascinating technological journey to be made before mankind even left the confines of the ground (left alone the planet itself). From the first kites and ancient experiments with steam and rocketry there are some fascinating and (sometimes) hilarious stories paving the way.
For example, have you heard about the 16th century Chinese bureaucrat who tried to launch himself to moon in a wicker chair with 47 rockets attached to it? Or how about the 19th century Italian who launched sheep into "space"? Or the early 20th century Russian school teacher who designed multi-stage rockets, space stations and a space elevator?
No? Well head over here for a read.