It can be argued that first rocket in history was a steam powered pigeon in 400 BCE. Around 1200 CE, the Chinese were using rocket powered weapons of war. Beginning around 1960, both the Americans and the Russians had major government funded scientific rocket and space exploration programs in place. Presently (2013), we're seeing an increasing involvement of privately funded rocket research.

Is it possible to report the funding for rocket research and/or construction by the three major sources: military, private and government?

Reference: Brief History of Rockets (NASA)

  • $\begingroup$ This question has promise, but I'm not sure it is really on topic here. You might have a better audience at Open Data. $\endgroup$
    – user12
    Aug 21, 2013 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for good question. Would be an interesting comparison to compare these results with the results for, say, opening the new world in the late 1400s+. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Aug 22, 2013 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Are you looking for data about funding of 1) space exploration, 2) rockets used in space exploration, or 3) rockets used for any purpose? $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Aug 22, 2013 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ The question is ill-posed. Military is part of government, and private funding was in place only before 1934 and after ~2000, and it was a joke compared to gov't spending. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 3:44
  • $\begingroup$ We are not seeing private rocket research. We can see development, testing and evaluation, but not much privately-funded research. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2013 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


Based on the comments this question has received, it does not appear possible to divide funding by the three categories given. Both Military and scientific government funding are the same source, and the designation between them is merely a political preference of the time.

Private funding, as a commercial speculation as of 2013 is essentially insignificant.


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