View Full Version : 60th Anniversary of the Space Age

1st Oct 2002, 08:04
October 3rd, 1942 the first man made machine left the earth atmosphere and entered space. An A4 rocket designed and built by a group of engineers including Wernher von Braun had it´s first successful flight from peenemünde spaceport.
26 years, 10 months and 3 weeks later the first Saturn V rocket designed by the very same engineers left earth for the moon.
And now 60 years later we use satelites to transmit such posts around the globe.
For any privat pilot doing hourbuilding, a trip to Peenemünde is still a very interresting journey, the lounch site is still visible in the large woods of Usedom island in the very notheast end of germany. Peenemünde airfield is just a 30 minute walk away and has more than 2000 m runway aviable. I believe there will be a fly-in on thursday although this is no official event. The ghosts of the aera are still alive, so a lot of people fear the technical achivements of the nazi engineers might be misunderstood as acts of war crime.

I won´t be there, I´m off to SEA now.

5th Oct 2002, 04:58
Interesting Topic Volume!

The A4 (Aggregat vier) has always fascinated me, although it is difficult at times to realize that they were nothing but part of the war machinery of a totalitarian facist regime.

Despite having said that, it is more difficult to draw the line between having been a member of the Nazi party (and directly or indirectly supporting the regime) and being a pure scientist. We all know that the US & Russia literally scrambled to recruit most of the German scientists shortly after the war.

Never been to Peenemuende, but that is on my to-do list. Additionally, I wanna see the "caves" (Stollen) where the V2s were produced, and where "insignificant" lives had to work over 14 hour shifts in order to stay alive under the watchful eyes of the SS.

It is also interesting to mention that around 1942/43 Wernher von Braun and Peter Wegener conducted windtunnel testing at hypersonic speed (up to Mach 9). The heat-seeking missile was also on the drawing board, but (luckily) far far away from being completed.

There is a book I can highly recommed.

"The Peenemunde Wind Tunnels" by Peter Wegener.
ISBN: 0300063679
The only downside that it is not available in Germany as far as I know (unless you find a company that imports it) and it sells for USD 45,-

If you want more info, drop me a message

7 7 7 7

Lu Zuckerman
6th Oct 2002, 02:06
26 years, 10 months and 3 weeks later the first Saturn V rocket designed by the very same engineers left earth for the moon.

At the time the Saturn space vehicles were being designed Werner von Braun was remotely involved in the design of the three boost vehicles. He was the director of the Marshall Space Flight center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Boeing, North American and Douglas Aircraft MSSD respectively designed the vehicles S-1C, S-2 and the S-IVB. There were NASA reps. at each construction site but they mainly monitored conformance with the design contract. All of the stage contractors had engineering reps at MSFC and they interfaced with the various labs on the facility. These meetings between stage reps and NASA reps had more to do with contracts than technical design. The only real technical involvement was when there was a launch and NASA had an operations center that monitored the launch and provided technical backup in order to solve problems that caused a launch delay. Even then most of the technical work was done by the stage contractors.

NASA in order to show a semblance of technical involvement duplicated the test and development iron birds that were used to both test and demonstrate the ability to perform in accordance with the design requirements. The test iron birds at the various stage contractors were configured exactly like the real stage in order to measure pneumatic and cryogenic flow patterns and to verify that the system could supply the rocket engines used on the respective stages. The NASA version did not do this. They could fire up the engines and deliver the pneumatics and cryogenics to the engine(s) but the performance of the NASA test vehicles (iron birds) did not perform to the same levels as the stage contractors iron birds. They spent a great deal of money for show purposes but their stage(s) never developed any usable engineering data. All of this under the watchful eye of Werner von Braun.

Speaking of “The watchful eye” Von Braun had special privileges. He was under contract to Popular Mechanics (or Popular Science) magazine to write a monthly article about space and space craft. These articles were in fact ghost written by an individual in the technical writing group based in the Hilton, which is what the headquarters building was called.

He was allowed to make speeches at various technical functions for which he was substantially rewarded which was against government rules. In order to get to these speaking functions he used the Gulfstream aircraft assigned to MSFC for transport of managers to various technical meetings with the stage contractors.

He made yearly one month vacations to Germany which were totally paid for by the German government and on every other visit the German government gave him a brand new Mercedes.

In meetings with the stage contractors he thought nothing of totally emasculating one of the NASA presenters causing that individual a great deal of embarrassment and made the stage contractors very uneasy in witnessing this behavior.

Shall I go on?

6th Oct 2002, 13:07
I liked the alternative name to the film made about him, "I aim for the stars", tentatively titled, "I aim for the stars, but sometimes I hit London".

Iron City
7th Oct 2002, 15:22
It was Popular Science.

"Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples of old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Werner von Braun"

Tom Lehrer "Werner von Braun"