Peenemünde and the A-4 (V-2), 1932–1945

J. D. Hunley

in Preludes to U.S. Space-Launch Vehicle Technology

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780813031774
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038551 | DOI:
Peenemünde and the A-4 (V-2), 1932–1945

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This chapter discusses the development of the A-4 (V-2) missile and provides technical information needed for later analysis of ways in which the V-2 was and was not a stepping-stone for American rocketry. A German army rocket-development program got started at the Kummersdorf proving grounds near Berlin in 1932 under the leadership of Captain Walter Dornberger and an aristocrat named Wernher von Braun, who had begun developing rockets as an amateur under Hermann Oberth and others. After going to work for the army, von Braun and a growing number of engineers started with simple rockets, proceeding through models designated A-1, A-2, A-3, and A-5 before developing the A-4 (V-2) missile that was destined to be a starting point for a number of American missiles and rockets. Not only the technology of the V-2 but many of its designers moved to the United States after World War II and contributed to the development of missiles and launch vehicles ranging from the Redstone to the Saturn V. This important series of developments stemmed from the movement that Oberth's writings started.

Keywords: rocket technology; missiles; German army rocket development; launch vehicles; Wernher von Braun; Hermann Oberth

Chapter.  21631 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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