The First Man-Made Object in Space
What was the first artificial object in space? Who put it there? The answer might surprise you.
During the 1930s and 40s, Germans were obsessed with the idea of space travel.
From the German physicist Hermann Oberth’s book “The Rocket into Interplanetary Space” to the 1929 Fritz Lang’s film, Woman in the Moon, Germans were paving the way for space travel enthusiasm.
In 1932, ‘the father of space travel,’ Wernher von Braun, accepted the challenge from the German military to take charge of a newly created missile development lab of the German Army. Shortly after the Nazis took control of power in Germany, von Braun accepted another challenge to develop a long-range ballistic missile.
They tried for months, and in the end, created A-1, the grandfather of most modern rockets.
The Aggregate A-1 rocket was 4 ft 7 inches in length, 12 inches in diameter, and weighed 331 pounds at takeoff. It burned ethanol and liquid oxygen.
The first attempt at launch saw the rocket blow up on the launching pad half a second after launch.
Round two of experiments began to redesign the rocket, and by 1934 A2 Max and Moritz were ready for their full-scale test. The rockets flew at 1.4 miles and 2.2 miles.
With the success of the Aggregate rocket, in 1936 the team began building a much bigger specimen. The rocket was based on a 55,000 lb thrust engine! Holy smokes!
The V2, also known as Aggregate Four (A4), was the first long-range, guided ballistic missile.
The key technologies for the V2 were large liquid-fuel rocket engines, supersonic aerodynamics, gyroscopic guidance, and rudders in jet control.
On October 3, 1942, it made a largly successful first flight of an altitude of 52 miles with a maximum speed of 3579 mph and a range of 205 miles.
Just two years later, in 1944, a V2 reached double the previous altitude of 109 miles! This made it the very first artificial object to enter space and rang in the official start of the space age!