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  V-2 rockets breaking up on re-entry?

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Author Topic:   V-2 rockets breaking up on re-entry?
Chris Dubbs

Posts: 144
From: Edinboro, PA USA
Registered: Nov 2004

posted 05-25-2006 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chris Dubbs   Click Here to Email Chris Dubbs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found the following post on a WW II history discussion group page. Not being space experts like the members of cS, their discussion didn't go very far. I thought I would repost it here for some answers.
The V-2/A-4 was plagued for some time with bursting/breaking up on descent ("re-entry"). I understand that this problem continued even during the launches against Britain.

Was a cause ever found for this? ...was it ever "fixed?"

Did the problem persist when the Americans were shooting them off at White Sands? Also, were the Allies ever able to detect them in flight towards Britain by radar?


Posts: 2017
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 05-25-2006 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I seem to recall reading that it was breaking up due to atmospheric heating melting the nose cone. I think von Braun had one shot at himself so he could observe it to solve the problem.


Posts: 934
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-27-2006 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I recall my reading they eventually added some insulation around some of the LOX tubing. The idea was to prevent other components from becoming chilled.

The result was a string of successes making them think the problem was licked. But then the breakups began happening again.

My recollection is that the above information came from Gen. Dornberger's book "V-2: The Nazi Rocket Weapon."

I also recall reading about Von Braun heading to the target area in Poland to observe the descents. That was probably mentioned in Michael Neufeld's "The Rocket and the Reich: Peenemunde."

Something else they did in order to observe and understand the problem was to launch A-4s from the Oie straight up at night during or shortly after twilight. The rockets would travel up and into the sunlight more than 100 miles up where they managed to achieve new altitude records for the time. Then they would stall and plummet straight down.

Because of the rotation of the earth the rockets would land a mile or so toward the west off the coast. This was mentioned by Dornberger and also by Dieter Huzel in his book "Peenemunde to Canaveral." Both men were eye witnesses at those test flights.

All times are CT (US)

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