A Brief History
On October 8, 1806, British forces fighting the French at Boulogne employed Congreve rockets, the same type of rockets mentioned in the National Anthem of the United States (“…and the rockets red glare…”).
Here 9 people or things named “Rocket” are listed.
9. Congreve Rockets.
These weapons of war were actually developed to replicate the Mysorean rockets which had been used in India against the British in the late 18th century. The Mysorean Rockets were the first iron-cased rockets to have been successfully utilized in combat. The British rocket program began in 1801, and the Congreve rocket was the result.
8. Team Rocket.
An Americanized interpretation of the Japanese Roketto-dan, Team Rocket is a gang of criminals belonging to the Pokemon anime cartoon crowd. A more literal translation might be “Rocket Gang.” Known for stealing technology, they even have cloning capabilities.
7. Rocket Plane.
This generic name describes airplanes powered by a rocket motor. They are quite fast but can generally only fly for short periods. The Germans employed the Me 163 Komet, the fastest of all planes at that time (and also the fastest climbing), in combat during World War II, and the Japanese flew rocket-powered, manned “Kamikaze” suicide planes to act as as flying bombs. The U.S. North American X-15 rocket plane, which was in service from 1959 to 1968, was an experimental aircraft flown by Air Force and NASA and at 4,519 mph (7,274 km/h) is the fastest manned airplane ever flown.
6. Rocket Man.
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, this is a 1972 smash hit song. It followed up on David Bowie’s 1969 hit Space Oddity, both of which had the same producer. History and Headlines Trivia: The lyrics were inspired by the short story The Rocket Man by Ray Bradbury.
Best known for their high, synchronized leg kicks, they are one of the most famous non-ballet dance troupes in the world. Founded in St. Louis, Missouri in 1925, they have been based in Radio City Music Hall in New York since 1932. History and Headlines Trivia: The original name of the Rockettes was “The Missouri Rockets.”
4. Rocket Raccoon.
A comic book superhero from Marvel Comics, he is also portrayed in the live-action 2014 movie Guardians of the Galaxy, with actor Bradley Cooper providing the voice. Among his skills are piloting starships and expert marksmanship.
3. Roger Clemens.
Known as “The Rocket” for his hard throwing, Clemens is one of the best pitchers in major league baseball history. He won 354 games, received 7 Cy Young Awards, was an 11-time All-Star and ranks 3rd of all time in strikeouts. Already during his playing days, Clemens was accused of using steroids and Human Growth Hormone, and after his retirement, he was brought to trial for perjury for lying about it. Much to his and his fans’ relief, he was acquitted. On an interesting side note, it was revealed that part of “The Rocket’s” pre-game ritual was to rub his genitals with the hottest liniment balm available.
2. Oldsmobile Rocket V8.
Developed by General Motors (GM) just for Oldsmobile, the Rocket V8 was the first post-war, overhead valve V8 engine and was introduced in 1949. Oldsmobile made maximum use of the Rocket V8 in its sales pitches and continued making the motors until the 1990s when they were phased out in favor of the Chevy 350-cubic-inch V8, the new GM standard. In the late 1970s, some Oldsmobile buyers were upset to find that some of their cars had Chevy or Buick engines, much to GM’s embarrassment. History and Headlines Trivia: The author of this article had a 1977 Olds 88 whose engine was a Chevy 350 instead of an Olds Rocket V8. The difference was that his car only had 135 horsepower, whereas the cars with the Rocket V8 engine had 175 horsepower, quite a difference.
1. Rocket J. Squirrel a.ka. Rocky the Flying Squirrel.
Yes, Rocky the Flying Squirrel’s actual name is Rocket J. Squirrel. And Bullwinkle’s full name is Bullwinkle A. Moose. Like Bart Simpson, the person who voiced Rocky was a female. (For those of you who do not know, Rocky and Bullwinkle was a cartoon for kids in the 1960s.)
Question for students (and subscribers): Who or what else would you add to the list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
For another interesting event that happened on October 8, please read the History and Headlines article: “Jessica Lange’s Character in American Horror Story: Freak Show is Based on a Real Woman!“
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For more information, please see…
Congreve, William. A Treatise on the General Principles, Powers and Facility of Application of the Congreve Rocket System, as Compared with Artillery. Adamant Media Corporation, 2005.
Winter, Frank H. The First Golden Age Of Rocketry : Congreve and Hale rockets of the nineteenth century. Smithsonian, 1990.