rocketman n.

someone who travels in space on rockets

  • 1931 Salt Lake Tribune 10 Aug. 6/6

    Mars, Venus and Jupiter had been visited by Rocket men… Amazing things were learned by Rocket men who went to Venus.

  • 1931 E. Hamilton Creatures of the Comet in Weird Tales Dec. 632/1 page image Edmond Hamilton bibliography

    Space-struck, both of them…. But I never heard of even a nutty rocket-man who would monkey with a comet!

  • 1938 M. W. Wellman Men Against Stars in Astounding Science-Fiction June 8/1 Manly Wade Wellman bibliography

    In ship No. Fifty-one, half-way from Moon to Mars, four stubbled faces turned to a common, grinning regard as the pounding roar of the rockets died away at last. The skipper, the rocketman, the navigator, the spacehand.

  • 1949 ‘R. Lafayette’ Unwilling Hero in Startling Stories July 102/2 page image L. Ron Hubbard

    To see Earth and the Moon grow small, to behold the Sun dwindling to an unimpressive star, is an experience which has unnerved many a hardy rocket man.

  • 1959 R. A. Heinlein Menace From Earth (1968) 115 Robert A. Heinlein

    He held a torcher’s contempt for the vast distance itself. Older pilots thought of interplanetary trips with a rocketman’s bias in terms of years—trips that a torch ship with steady acceleration covered in days.

  • 1964 Galaxy Magazine Oct. 181/1

    I was a Rocketman 3/c on the Moon, guarding the Aristarchus base against invaders from outer space.

  • 1992 V. Koman Bootstrap Enterprise in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Feb. 57 page image Victor Koman bibliography

    Joe Wenders, furloughed rocketman, sat on his couch…and started at the photographs on his wall. Earthrise over the Moon. Ed White taking a space walk a few years before his death in Apollo 1.


Research requirements

antedating 1931

Earliest cite

Salt Lake Tribune

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted two 1949 cites from the same issue of Startling Stories: one from Rene LaFayette's (L. Ron Hubbard pseudonym), 'The Unwilling Hero' for the sense of a rocket pilot, and one for for the sense of a rocketry hobbyist, from "Review of the Science Fiction Fan Publications" by "THE EDITOR".
Fred Galvin submitted a cite from a 1958 reprint of Manly Wade Wellman's "Men Against the Stars" which Mike Christie verified in its June 1938 first publication.
The OED found a 1931 cite in a SFnal context in a local newspaper; this is now the earliest use in OED3.

Last modified 2021-01-04 22:55:10
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.