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  Autograph of the Week 006: Hermann Oberth

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Author Topic:   Autograph of the Week 006: Hermann Oberth

Posts: 474
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-23-2012 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Autograph of the Week, Week 6 (September 17, 2012)
Space Autograph of the Week Topic 6: Hermann Oberth

Hermann Oberth was one of the most important pioneers of space technology. Oberth wrote several books in the 1920s that were the basis of scientific technology for space travel. The first, "The Rocket into Interplanetary Space" was written in 1923 and the second, "Ways to Travel in Space" was written in 1929. These books were visionary as they covered much of the future of space exploration from rockets and satellites, manned lunar exploration, space stations and space shuttles/ferries.

Oberth was born on June 25, 1894 in Hermannstadt (Transylvania), and died on December 28, 1989 in Nuremberg, Germany.

While still a youth Oberth was inspired by the science-fiction novels of Jules Verne and began designing his first rockets and performed medical experiments on himself that convinced him that humans could endure the physical stresses of space travel.

In 1928 and 1929 Oberth was a scientific consultant to the first "serious" space film. Do you know what it was? "Woman in the Moon" (German "Frau im Mond") is a science fiction silent film that premiered on October 15, 1929. It was written and directed by Fritz Lang, based on the novel "Die Frau im Mond" (1928, translated as "The Woman to the Moon" in 1930) by Thea von Harbou. It was released in the United States as "By Rocket to the Moon" and in the United Kingdom as "Woman in the Moon." The film presented the basics of rocket travel to a mass audience for the first time including the use of a multi-stage rocket - the moon rocket "Friede" was submerged in water before launch.

In the fall of 1929 Oberth fired his first liquid rocket engine, the "Kegeldüse". In these experiments he was supported by students of the Technical University of Berlin. One of them was Wernher von Braun, who would soon became technical director of the Army-Rocket-Test-Center in Berlin-Kummersdorf, and then in Peenemuende. The design of the first modern large rocket, the "A4", better known as the "V2", utilized 95 of Oberth's inventions and suggestions.

In the 1940s and 1950s Oberth produced many more publications giving him an appropriate title, the "Father of Space Travel".

From 1955 to 1959 he worked in Huntsville, Alabama under his former "student", Wernher von Braun, who was the technical director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Oberth's suggestions for the application of the new space technology spanned imaging, communication and weather satellites, interplanetary satellites, manufacturing sites on the moon and planets, and space-stations in earth orbit

Wernher von Braun portrayed Oberth with the following words:

"Hermann Oberth was the first, who when thinking about the possibility of spaceships grabbed a slide-rule and presented mathematically analyzed concepts and designs...

I, myself, owe to him not only the guiding-star of my life, but also my first contact with the theoretical and practical aspects of rocketry and space travel. A place of honor should be reserved in the history of science and technology for his ground-breaking contributions in the field of astronautics."

In appreciation of the contributions of Hermann Oberth, the "Hermann Oberth Society" in 1971 founded the "Hermann Oberth Space Museum" in Feucht, a small town near Nuremberg. Has anyone been able to visit the museum?


Posts: 2318
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 09-24-2012 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did not yet visit the museum at Feucht, but there are also two museums in Oberth's native Romania, in Transylvania:
  • the city museum of Sighisoara (Schässburg) where Oberth was born has a room dedicated to Oberth.
  • the house where Oberth lived and worked as a school teacher, in the town of Medias, has been transformed into a memorial museum, presenting Oberth's oeuvre and its impact.
For a space fan, both places are most interesting. Savouring the atmosphere in these fairly small towns in formerly German speaking Romania adds to understand the man and the world he lived in.

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