Pedro Paulet

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Paulet and the second or maternal family name is Mostajo.
Pedro Paulet
Pedro Paulet, padre de la Aeronautica.PNG
Father of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Pioneer of the Space Age
Born Pedro Eleodoro Paulet Mostajo
July 2, 1874
Arequipa, Peru
Died January 30, 1945
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Residence Peru, France, Argentina
Citizenship Peruvian
Nationality French Peruvian
Fields Liquid-fueled rocketry, chemical engineering, astronautics
Alma mater University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle
Known for First liquid-fueled rocket engine

Pedro Eleodoro Paulet Mostajo (July 2, 1874 – January 30, 1945) was a Peruvian inventor who allegedly in 1895 was the first person to build a liquid-fuel rocket engine and, in 1900, the first person to build a modern rocket propulsion system.[1] German V-2 inventor Wernher von Braun considered Paulet one of the "fathers of aeronautics." The National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., has a small plaque honoring the memory of Paulet.[citation needed]


Paulet's claims were unknown until October 27, 1927, when a letter from Paulet appeared in an issue of the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio in which he claimed legal ownership of his earlier rocket motor design.[2] Recognizing that rocketry was beginning to boom in Europe, Paulet sought witnesses to help verify the work he said he had done years earlier. The letter was circulated across the world by an Alexander Scherschevsky, a Russian national, in summary form.[citation needed] Had Paulet's claim been authenticated, he might today be considered the father of liquid-propellant rocketry, rather than Robert H. Goddard, who in 1926, flew a liquid-fueled rocket engine in a test vehicle.

Paulet also designed reaction motors in 1895[citation needed], propulsion systems in 1900[citation needed], and an airplane using thermoelectric batteries and rocket engines in 1902[citation needed]. He alluded to the use of nuclear propelled rockets for flights to the moon.[citation needed]

In 1900, Paulet’s life took a turn. Because of the various diplomatic responsibilities he was given by the Peruvian government, he joined the diplomatic corps.[citation needed] He was first assigned as Peruvian consul in Paris, and in 1902 he was transferred to Belgium, as consul general in Antwerp.[citation needed] It was there that he finished his drafts for the "Torpedo-Plane, Paulet system."[citation needed]

The Peruvian government assigned him a number of official duties, which distracted him from his project.[citation needed] But the government also needed his technical and scientific input for other projects. For example, they asked him to evaluate the feasibility of applying wireless telegraphy across the Pacific Ocean, and it is on the basis of his research that a telegraph system was installed in Peru.[citation needed]

In 1904, Paulet was called upon by the Peruvian government to assume the founding and directorship of the School of Arts and Trades (predecessor of the current Superior Technology Institute).[citation needed] To carry out this project, Paulet studied the curriculum of the most prominent centers of European technical education.[citation needed] He invited a prominent teaching team of engineers to join him in founding the School, which was also provided with the best laboratory equipment and machinery for fulfilling its purpose.[citation needed]


Paulet combined the directorship of the School with the management of the magazine that he had founded in 1909, Ilustración Peruana. This magazine, directed toward youth, was known for its scientific-technical orientation, and had as its objective the preparation of youth for engineering, and especially aeronautical, vocations.[citation needed]

On December 27, 2006, the rocket Paulet I, a joint venture between the Peruvian Air Force and other Peruvian scientific entities, was named in Paulet's honor. Its launch that day reached an altitude 45 km and traveled at five times the speed of sound. This was Peru's first attempt to venture into space. Future plans include putting a satellite into orbit.[citation needed]

Wernher von Braun, in his book World History of Aeronautics states: "Pedro Paulet was in Paris in those years (1900), experimenting with his tiny two-and-a-half kilogram motor, and achieved 100 kg of force. By this act, Paulet should be considered the pioneer of the liquid fuel propulsion motor." Further, in his History of Rocketry and Space Travel, von Braun recognizes that "by his efforts, Paulet helped man reach the Moon."[3]

In Peru, Paulet's birthday has been officially declared National Aeronautics Day.

The Peruvian Air Force, in its Aeronautics Museum in Lima, has made the "Pedro Paulet Hall" into a major exhibit, where Paulet’s works, original sketches, and scale models of his inventions, are on view.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ R. Cargill Hall; International Academy of Astronautics; American Astronautical Society (November 1986). History of rocketry and astronautics: proceedings of the third through the sixth History Symposia of the International Academy of Astronautics. Published for the American Astronautical Society by Univelt, Inc. (P.O. Box 28130, San Diego, Ca. 92128). p. 25. ISBN 978-0-87703-260-1. Retrieved 21 July 2011. We should not fail to mention Pedro Paulet who carried out, in 1895, experiments with a liquid propellant rocket characterized by a surprising performance 
  2. ^ Mcmurran, Marshall William (December 2008). Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 187–. ISBN 978-1-4363-8106-2. Retrieved 21 July 2011. Pedro Paulet, a Peruvian scienst, made the only known claim to liquid propellant rocket engine experiments in the nineteenth century, but he was slow in publishing his work. Finally, in 1927, Paulet wrote a leer to a newspaper in Lima ... 
  3. ^ a b Pedro Paulet: Peruvian Space and Rocket Pioneer

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