Lagâri Hasan Çelebi

Mucit, Bilgin


Scholar, inventor (B.? D.?). First person and first scientist ever achieved vertical rocket take off. Famous Turkish scientist who was the Ancestor of missilery, succeeded to blast off a simple air rocket with a chamber full of gunpowder in the beginning of 17th century. The flight was presented at the birthday celebrations of the Ottoman Sultan Murad the Fourth’s daughter in 1633. It was measured that Lagâri Hasan Çelebi has lifted off circa 300 m and was in the air for 20 seconds. With the wings tied to his body, he landed to Boğaziçi (coast of Bosporus) considerably softly. At first he was supported by the Sultan but then with the pressures of the Ulemâ (a social class in Ottoman Empire consisting of lawyers, professors and religious functionary) he was put on trial and exiled to Crimea. Under the circumstances of that era, this technologic development probably couldn’t be extended because of such a radical attitude. Yet another interesting point is that the first rocket studies in modern terms have begun in Ukraine, wherein Crimea is included today.

The rumours about this Ottoman scientist stating that he flied with the help of cartridges made of gunpowder paste originate from “Seyahatname” written by Evliya Çelebi, a traveller contemporary with him. According to Evliya Çelebi; around years 1632-1633 he invented a seven armed cartridge made of 50 okes gunpowder paste, during the birthday celebrations of Kaya Sultan, the daughter of Murad IV.

He said; “My Sultan, Hudâ (God) bless you and I’m going to talk to Isa Nebi” (the prophet Jesus). Following that he got on the cartridge before Murad IV, then his assistants helped him to fire the cartridge and he rose to the sky. When he was in the air, the sea surface got enlightened as he fired the cartridges he had brought with him as long as didn’t have any gunpowder left, after which started to fall from the sky. While he was falling, he opened the eagle wings attached to his hands and landed on the sea, in front of the Sinan Paşa Villa. From there swimming to the shore he came before the Padishah. And joked “My Sultan, İsâ Nebî saluted you”. The Sultan gave to Hasan Çelebi a pocket of silver coins (akçe) and he also granted him a daily fee of 70 silver coins (akçe) as a cavalry. Again according to Evliya Çelebi’s story, he was gone to Crimea to Selamet Giray Han, and died there.

It is understood that he was one of the closest friends of Evliya Çelebi, because according to his writings Evliya Çelebi called him as Yâdigâr-ı sâdıkımız”; (‘our loyal heirloom’). And also based on Evliya Çelebi’s tellings, it was calculated and found that taking off and slowly landing to the sea with a primitive rocket, powered by the thrust principle using gunpowder’s thrust power could be possible. In the light of such calculations, it’s estimated that Lagâri might have ascended approximately 250 meters altitude with this primitive rocket. And also depending on the quote “he enlightened the sea surface”, it’s estimated that while he was above the ground, using other cartridges he fired he changed his direction, and the things he held in his both hands which were described to resemble eagle wings functioned as some kind of parachute, whereby he slowly landed on the sea. Lagâri Hasan Çelebi has a statue at Museum of Turkish Air Association in Ankara.

There’s an assessment at the web site of Turkish Air Force Academy, saying: “If we  make an analysis based on the descriptions of Evliya Çelebi; Ottoman Turks, who knew about rockets and cartridges from long before were also aware of fireworks made of gunpowder paste as well as the technique of increasing and decreasing the burning speed. A rocket having 7 cartridges filled with 50 okes of gunpowder weighs 64 kilograms provided the weights of the individual cartridges are equal, and then each cartridge weighs about 9 kilograms. So it can be assumed that produced gunpowder burns 450-600 grams per second. Altogether 7 cartridges will burn for around 15-20 seconds to provide speed to Lagâri Hasan Çelebi. It is supposed that the total weight of Hasan Çelebi’s rocket cartridge device and primitive parachute make 165 kg. If the traction force of rockets is accepted as 25 kg per each cartridge per second, cartridges altogether shall provide 175 kilograms of traction force. It is accepted that this traction force shall be stabile during the powered flight. While the rocket’s gunpowder is being depleted after 15 seconds, its speed will be 115 km/h and the attitude it achieved shall be 215 meters. After this point, it will keep ascending for some time with its final speed.”

REFERENCE: Ya­vuz Kansu / Havacılık Tarihinde Türkler (s. 40, 1971), M. Çağatay Uluçay / Padişahların Ka­dınları ve Kızları (s. 54-55, 1992), “Hasan Çelebi, Lagari” (Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi, c. 16, 1997), Evliya Çelebi Seyahatnamesi (Haz. Seyit Ali Kahraman ve Yücel Dağlı, c.1, 2003), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013). 



Devamını Gör