First Launch: 1932-08-01. Last Launch: 1932-08-01. Number: 1 . Location: Kummersdorf-West. Longitude: 13.20 deg. Latitude: 52.05 deg.
German Army Ordnance Office, after reviewing work of Goddard and others, decided to establish rocket program and to equip artillery proving ground at Kummersdorf to develop military missiles. The German Army issues the first budget for rocket development - 5,000 Reichsmarks.
Nebel contacted the German Army and proposed the use of liquid fuel rockets as war missiles. He arranged for Army representatives to observe a demonstration launch at Kummersdorf. Riedel and Von Braun prepare the rocket, which was 3.5 m long and 10 cm in diameter, had a gross lift-off mass of 20 kg, an empty mass of 10 kg, and a thrust of 60 kgf. The new design featured the engine forward of the stack, followed by the liquid oxygen tank, then the alcohol tank, then the manometers and other elements of propellant pressurisation. The new-design engine was developed by Walter Riedel and Arthur Rudolph at the Heylandt Company. The rocket reached an altitude of 20 to 70 m before veering horizontally into a forest. An exhaust velocity of 2000 m/s was expected, but only 1700 m/s was demonstrated.. The Army is seemingly unimpressed. However a month later they hire Von Braun, who drops out of sight.
Wernher von Braun joined the German Army Ordnance Office rocket program at Kummersdorf. He is working on a 300 kgf thrust liquid propellant engine, which has been tested with an exhaust velocity of 1700 m/s, but it is believed can be tuned up to as much as 1900 m/s. This is to power the A1 rocket, which is to have the same tractor configuration as the 20 kg test rocket launched in August 1932. The main issue is how to solve the problem of keeping the rocket stabilised in flight, as the August test demonstrated. The A1 is to be 1.4 m long x 30 cm in diameter, a 150 kg gross takeoff weight, and 40 kg of propellant., allowing a 16.5 second burn time.
A 300 kgf engine was installed in a Junkers 'Junior' aircraft fuselage at Kummersdorf. This was the first rocket engine installation in an aircraft. But the problem to be solved was how to ensure continuous operation of the engine during aircraft manoeuvres. The rocket team finally built a big carousel, capable of testing the engine installation at up to 5 G's.
This was the first time he became acquainted with liquid rocket engine technology. 300 kgf and 1000 kgf engines were fired in his presence. A colour-coded cutaway model of the A3 rocket was presented and its systems explained. Hitler was quiet throughout the exhibits and asked no questions. Afterwards, while taking lunch at the mess hall, he asked only about the development schedule (clucking when told), the range of the missile, and the impact on the schedule if synthetic 'Eisenbled' was substituted for light metal alloys in the rocket frame. Hitler spoke of deceased rocket pioneer Max Valier - he had known him in Munich, but dismissed him as a dreamer. Dornberger countered by comparing the state of rocket development to the early days of the zeppelin, when Lillienthal made the first primitive experiments. Hitler in turn dismissed airships as dangerous, filled with explosive gas . The Fuehrer finally departed with handshakes and few words. His summary of the day: 'Es war doch gewaltig' (it was impressive, nevertheless). The rocket team was dismayed - it was the first time a visitor had exhibited no reaction to the power the rocket engines when fired for their benefit. But on the plus side, Von Brauchtisch said he was astounded at the progress made by the team in only a few years. Dornberger believed Hitler was enthralled with artillery and tanks, and was unimpressed with rocket technology. He thought Hitler didn't understand the possibilities and didn't believe the time had come yet for development of the rocket as a weapon.