Encyclopedia Astronautica

A12 concept
Credit: © Mark Wade
German orbital launch vehicle. The A12 has been named as the designation for a true orbital launch vehicle, as sketched out at Peenemuende. It would have been a four-stage vehicle consisting of the A9+A10+A11+A12 stages. Caluclation suggest it could have placed 10 tonnes into low earth orbit.

The reconstruction here is purely an estimate, assuming the A12 stage followed the design philosophy of the A11 drawing. Unless development of a new engine was planned, no fewer than 50 A-10 engines would have been required in the first stage, presaging Von Braun's design of 1948/1952.

LEO Payload: 10,000 kg (22,000 lb) to a 300 km orbit at 90.00 degrees.

Stage Data - A9/A10/A11/A12

  • Stage 1. 1 x A-12. Gross Mass: 3,500,000 kg (7,700,000 lb). Empty Mass: 350,000 kg (770,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 98,000.000 kN (22,031,000 lbf). Isp: 247 sec. Isp(sl): 210 sec. Diameter: 11.00 m (36.00 ft). Span: 23.00 m (75.00 ft). Length: 33.00 m (108.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Alcohol. No Engines: 50. Engine: A-10. Status: Study 1942-1945. Comments: All values estimated.
  • Stage 2. 1 x A-11. Gross Mass: 500,000 kg (1,100,000 lb). Empty Mass: 75,000 kg (165,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 13,841.380 kN (3,111,666 lbf). Isp: 247 sec. Burn time: 70 sec. Isp(sl): 210 sec. Diameter: 8.10 m (26.50 ft). Span: 16.50 m (54.10 ft). Length: 25.00 m (82.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Alcohol. No Engines: 6. Engine: A-10. Status: Study 1942-1945. Comments: Masses estimated; dimensions scaled from drawing.
  • Stage 3. 1 x A-10. Gross Mass: 69,043 kg (152,213 lb). Empty Mass: 16,993 kg (37,463 lb). Thrust (vac): 2,306.896 kN (518,611 lbf). Isp: 247 sec. Burn time: 55 sec. Isp(sl): 210 sec. Diameter: 4.12 m (13.51 ft). Span: 9.00 m (29.50 ft). Length: 20.00 m (65.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Alcohol. No Engines: 1. Engine: A-10. Status: Study 1942-1945.
  • Stage 4. 1 x A-9. Gross Mass: 16,259 kg (35,844 lb). Empty Mass: 3,000 kg (6,600 lb). Thrust (vac): 288.678 kN (64,897 lbf). Isp: 255 sec. Burn time: 115 sec. Isp(sl): 220 sec. Diameter: 1.65 m (5.41 ft). Span: 3.20 m (10.40 ft). Length: 14.18 m (46.52 ft). Propellants: Lox/Alcohol. No Engines: 1. Engine: A-9. Status: Development 1945.

Status: Study 1952.
Gross mass: 4,100,000 kg (9,000,000 lb).
Payload: 10,000 kg (22,000 lb).
Height: 70.00 m (229.00 ft).
Diameter: 11.00 m (36.00 ft).
Span: 23.00 m (75.00 ft).
Thrust: 83,400.00 kN (18,749,000 lbf).
Apogee: 300 km (180 mi).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • A9 German manned rocketplane. Study 1944. Manned, winged boost-glide version of the V-2 missile. It would have been capable of delivering express cargo 600 km from the launch point within 17 minutes. More...

See also
  • Von Braun In 1948, with the US Army's V-2 test project winding down, Wernher Von Braun was ensconced in isolated Fort Bliss. He had, unusually, some time on his hands. He occupied himself by writing a novel concerning an expedition to Mars, grounded on accurate engineering estimates. As an appendix to the novel he documented his calculations. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Von Braun American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Von Braun, USA. More...

  • Von Braun, Wernher, and Ley, Willy, La Conquista del Espacio, Espasa-calpe, SA, Madrid, 1966.
  • Dornberger, Walter, Peenemuende, Moewig, Berlin 1985..

Associated Stages
  • A-10 Lox/Alcohol propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 69,043/16,993 kg. Thrust 2,306.90 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 247 seconds. More...
  • A-11 Lox/Alcohol propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 500,000/75,000 kg. Thrust 13,841.38 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 247 seconds. Masses estimated; dimensions scaled from drawing. More...
  • A-12 Lox/Alcohol propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,500,000/350,000 kg. Thrust 98,000.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 247 seconds. All values estimated. More...
  • A-9 Lox/Alcohol propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 16,259/3,000 kg. Thrust 288.68 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 255 seconds. Winged version. More...

A9/A10/A11/A12 Chronology

1942-1944 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Vehicle: A9/A10/A11/A12.
  • Peenemuende team's ambitions - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger. Von Braun was obsessed by grandiose futuristic fantasies, and Dornberger felt he constantly had to throw cold water on the engineer to keep them in check. But this tendency was easily overshadowed by Von Braun's fantastic ability to solve a technical problem, to throw all the extraneous ballast overboard and concentrate on the solution. In the moment the solution was technically realised, Von Braun no longer had any interest in the issue and dropped it.

    There was never any doubt that manned space travel was Von Braun's life goal. The technology needed for manned flight presented many such technical challenges. He realised early on that only multi-staged liquid propelled rockets could achieve his dream. Rockets certainly needed lighter propellant tanks, but there was a practical technical limit to this, and in any case, there still had to be a payload. Von Braun knew that liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen was the ultimate propellant combination, but also that learning how to handle liquid hydrogen would be a long-term affair. A one-year study at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden and Peenemuende showed that other propellant combinations could produce no more than a 20% improvement in specific impulse compared to the existing V-2 technology. Therefore a multistage rocket was the only way to achieve orbital spaceflight.

End 1942 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A9/A10; A9/A10/A11; A9/A10/A11/A12.
  • Peenemuende team's spaceflight plans - . Nation: Germany. Using catapults and wings an A9 might nearly achieve 1000 km range, but the only solution for transatlantic missions was the two-stage A9/A10. The A10 boost stage was to have a total mass of 87 tonnes, of which 62 tonnes would be propellant. The stage's 200 tonne thrust motor would burn for 50 to 60 seconds, taking the A9 upper stage to 1200 m/s. Then the A9 would separate and burn its engine, reaching an apogee of 55 km, followed by a long hypersonic glide in the atmosphere. The second stage would be equipped with air brakes for deceleration over the target, followed by a parachute for recovery in the water. The A9/A10 would reach a maximum velocity of 2800 m/s, and have a range of 4100 km, and a total flight time of 35 minutes. Full-scale development was underway, when further significant work on the project was stopped at the end of 1942. Only the Advanced Projects Group, under the direction of Dip-Ing Roth and Ing Palt, continued design of the missile. It was also planned to develop, after the war, a stratospheric rocket that could travel in 40 minutes from Europe to America. After that, the target was orbital spaceships that could reach 8 km/sec and 500 km orbital altitude. Beyond that, space stations and the burial in space of the embalmed bodies of the rocket developers and men of the rocket service. Manned expeditions to the moon were also a popular theme for research. Finally, the use of nuclear energy to achieve interstellar travel was studied by the Advanced Projects Group.

1945 - During the year - . Launch Vehicle: A9/A10/A11; A9/A10/A11/A12.
  • Von Braun documents plans for future uses of rocket power. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: von Braun. Spacecraft: Von Braun Station. As part of a summary of his work on rockets during World War II, Wernher von Braun speculated on future uses of rocket power. These included an observatory in space, the construction of space stations in earth orbit, a space mirror, and interplanetary travel, beginning with trips to the moon.

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