On this day, October the 3rd, in 1942, exactly 76 years today, a V2 rocket launched from Peenemünde, Germany, became the first man-made object to reach space, with 38 kilometers of altitude.
The A-4 rocket, later known as the V-2, was a missile powered by a single-stage rocket motor that used ethyl alcohol and liquid oxygen as fuel.
It measured 14 meters long and had a thrust of 28,000 Kilos.
The rocket’s load capacity was 1,100 kilos, and it had the ability to carry that load at a distance of 140 kilometers traveling at a speed of 1,750 kilometers per hour.
The rocket was dubbed by the Nazi as the Vergeltungswaffe Zwei (Revenge Weapon 2), the rocket was guided by a gyroscopic system that sent course correction signals to the stabilization planes and to the nozzles of the impeller jet.
Its speed, much greater than that of sound, was more than enough to prevent it from being shot down in flight.
Conceived by the Nazis as an “end game weapon” the rocket was supposed to subdue Great Britain through launches from the Dutch coasts.
However, the V2 could not be used in World War II until 1944, when Hitler’s Germany was already in the process of being defeated.
Once the war had concluded, many V2 rockets were transferred to the United States and the Soviet Union in order to be implemented into their incipient ballistic missile programs.
The rocket’s designer, Werner Von Brown, put himself at the service of the Americans and eventually, working for NASA, he put mankind on the surface of the moon.