V-2 Rocket Launch, 1943
The V-2 rocket was developed in Germany during WWII – its technical name was Aggregat 4 (A4), but the name used in general parlance was Vergeltungswaffe 2 (Retribution Weapon 2) or ‘vengeance weapon’ – as it was assigned to attack allied cities in retaliation for allied fire bombings perpetrated against heavily populated German cities.
Although it was the the world’s first long-range strategic missile, it was also a major technological breakthrough in the development of large rockets. Innovations included a rocket engine burning liquid oxygen and alcohol, pioneered use of turbo-pumps to pressure-feed the propellants into the rocket’s combustion chamber, a radio guidance system, and a gyroscopic system which corrected any course deviations.
After WWII, several V-2 rockets were appropriated by the US and the USSR and became the ultimate rocket teaching tool for both states and their individual space programs. On 24 October 1946, the first photo from space was taken from a V-2 launched by US scientists.
It’s not flat!