Astronomy

Russian and American rocket

Russian and American rocket

Technological developments, together with interested political considerations, influenced the evolution of rockets immediately after World War II. The last months of war, on the other hand, had demonstrated the obvious destructive potential of the missiles.

When Soviet and American troops entered Berlin, all Peenemunde missile engineers ended up being kidnapped, partly by the Americans and partly by the Russians. In their new homelands, German engineers would later build a generation of new weapons that would turn the US and the USSR into superpowers.

The Soviets, fearful of the American power in the conventional bombers of wide radius of action, were immediately dedicated to a program that, through the development of the rockets to liquid fuel, would lead to the creation of the first intercontinental ballistic missile. Under the guidance of German engineers, the Russians launched their first V2 in October 1947 and later, in 1949, they managed to make a more advanced missile they called T1.

Five years later, in 1954, the Russians will already build multi-section vehicles, the first of a generation of long-range missiles, capable of carrying their atomic heads to enemy bases thousands of kilometers away.

American experts also used V2 as a starting point to develop a new military technology. Suffice it to recall that between 1946 and 1951 about sixty-six V2 were launched from the White Sands base in New Mexico.

Unlike the Russians, the Americans, relying on the power of their highly autonomous bombers, initially did not build large missiles and preferred to concentrate their efforts on the design of small tactical rockets. However, in 1947, the Americans also dedicated themselves to the study of intercontinental ballistic missiles to be prepared, if necessary, to fight the Soviets.

Three different projects emerged. The first was called "Teetotaler" because alcohol is not used in the fuel; the second was baptized "Old Fashioned" (old style) because it was based on the old V 2; the third was called Manhattam because the rocket would carry an atomic bomb, the creature of the so-called Manhattan project.

Thus a series of rockets appeared. The first, simple reworking of a V 2, was called Bumper: it had been achieved by coupling the first section of a V 2 with the second section of a Wac Corporal missile. The vehicle immediately presented many problems and was soon abandoned.

After the Bumper program the American army built the first operational missile. The working group was led by German engineer Werner von Braun, who would later become an American citizen. The studies for the new rocket were based on the old V 2 and the missile was baptized ~ Redstone ~. The first launch was successful in 1953.

But the Americans noticed their error in the development of military missiles. To overcome it, the Atlas program is born. Compared to the Redstone, the new rocket was a giant. The era of the great American rockets that would have a subsequent and important development in late 1955 had begun, when work began on two intermediate-range missiles: the Thor and the Jupiter.

◄ PreviousNext ►
Saturn and Voyager probesThe Mercury project in orbit