A painting of 1780 Anglo Mysore War fought between British and Hyder Ali. This painting is displayed at NASA which in turn has recognized Tipu Sultan & his father Hyder Ali as pioneers of modern rocket technology.
Also referred to as Mysorean rockets, these military weapons were much more advanced than any other rockets of those times. They had taken the British by surprise and was the reason for their humiliating defeat.
These rockets were iron cased, would travel several meters high in the air with range of more than 2 km and the sharp swords attached at the end of the rocket would ensure instant destruction/death of targets.
Tipu had immense interest in the technology of rocket since his childhood and had written military manuals on the same. He had specially trained more than 4000 soldiers for it and they were able to quickly calculate the required amount of fuel & angle of the rocket launch depending on the radius of the rocket cylinder and distance from target..
After defeating Tipu in the 4th Anglo Mysore war of 1799, the British confiscated all the rockets, took control of his rocket laboratories and sent them to London and subsequently to other parts of Europe and later to US and it has evolved over the centuries.
So, the rockets & space ships which are launched by NASA today actually have their roots in India..
A part of History channel’s documentary about Tipu’s research on Rockets:
Tipu respected in NASA:
Tipu’s first missile rocket gets due recognition: