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America’s First Space Rocket: The Origin & First Flights of the Viking Rocket

3 May 2019, 14:11 UTC
America’s First Space Rocket: The Origin & First Flights of the Viking Rocket
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Before World War II, the field of rocket technology development was dominated by small groups of enthusiastic visionaries such as the American Rocket Society as well as brilliant individuals like Dr. Robert Goddard who launched the first liquid propellant rocket from Auburn, Massachusetts in 1926 (see “Liquid Rocket Engine Patent Filed 100 Years Ago Today”). While the efforts of these and other groups worldwide were relatively modest, all that changed with the start of World War II when governments dedicated major resources to develop rockets into effective weapons of war.
The German A-4 rocket (better known as the V-2) was developed by a team led by Wernher von Braun. (NASA/MSFC)
The penultimate product of these wartime efforts, in terms of size and range, was the A-4 rocket (better known as the V-2) developed by a team led by aerospace pioneer, Werhner von Braun. Designed to hurl a one-ton payload of high explosives over a range of 320 kilometers, the 12.5 metric ton V-2 was by far the largest rocket ever developed up until this time and the first capable of flying into space. Following the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, the western Allies and the Soviet Union scrambled ...

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