Eyraud, Achille (1821–1882)

Achille Eyraud

Achille Eyraud was a French writer, born in Le Puy-en-Velay, Haute-Loire, whose Voyage à Vénus (Voyage to Venus), published in 1863, describes the journey of a spacecraft propelled by a "reaction engine" – one of the earliest references to a true interplanetary rocket in science fiction. As pointed out by Alexandre Ananoff in his L'Astronautique, "If Cyrano first dreamt of using rockets to fly, it is Achille Eyraud to whom goes the honor, in 1863, of having applied this principle to a true spaceship".


Unfortunately, Eyraud's grasp of the physics involved becomes somewhat muddled and, in any case, his work was overshadowed by another French space novel which came out in the same year. This was Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon.