Schmidlap, Johann (16th century)

Johann Schmidlap was a German fireworks maker and perhaps the first, in 1591, to experiment with staging – a technique for lifting fireworks (and rockets in general) to higher altitudes. A larger sky rocket (first stage) carried a smaller sky rocket (second stage). When the larger rocket burned out, the smaller one continued to a higher altitude before showering the sky with glowing cinders. Although Schmidlap appears to have been the first to fly staged rockets, priority for the idea may go to Conrad Haas.