Encyclopedia Astronautica

Kumulus Launch
Kumulus launch to 15 km
Credit: Via Harald Lutz
Credit: Via Harald Lutz
Kumulus launch preparations at Cuxhaven, 28 May 1961
Credit: Via Harald Lutz
Kumulus was a single-stage sounding rocket developed by the German Rocket Society in the late 1950's. It could carry meteorological, postal, or biological payloads up to a speed of 750 m/s and an altitude of 20 km. All launches were made from Cuxhaven, and discontinued when the German government prohibited civilian rocket launches in June 1964. The propellant was developed by the DRG and fabricated at Liebenau Company for Production of Chemical Materials (GmbH zur Verwertung chemischer Erzeugnisse Liebenau).

Payload: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb) to a 20 km altitude.

Status: Retired 1959.
Gross mass: 30 kg (67 lb).
Payload: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb).
Height: 3.00 m (9.80 ft).
Diameter: 0.15 m (0.49 ft).
Thrust: 4.98 kN (1,120 lbf).
Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • German Civilian Rocketry A German rocket craze seized the country from 1928 to 1933, inspiring a generation of young engineers and scientists that manned spaceflight could be a reality in their lifetime. The Nazi government put an end to this civilian effort, instead putting the engineers to work developing military rockets. After the war, an attempt was made to revive German civilian rocketry, but safety fears resulted in all further work being shut down in 1964. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • "Wolf, Sonja", Cuxhaven - Im Zeitalter der Raketen, Unpublished manuscript, Cuxhaven City Archives, August 1986. Provided by Harald Lutz..
  • Contemporary newspaper articles, 1952-1964, Collected and provided by Harald Lutz.

Kumulus Chronology

1959 November 1 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. Launch Vehicle: Kumulus.
  • First Kumulus launch - . Nation: Germany. The first launch of a Kumulus rocket is made to 15 km altitude carrying a radio-transmitter built by Professor Max Ehmert of the Max Planck Institute. The rocket had a mass of 30.3 kg, produced 508 kgf, and reached 700 m/s. However due to the batteries becoming too cold during launch preparations, the transmitter did not function and the rocket could not be tracked.

11-12 February 1961 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. Launch Vehicle: Kumulus.
  • Kumulus rocket reaches 19.75 km - . Nation: Germany. The DRG (German Rocket Society) launched four MVR-I rockets on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Saturday launches were tracked to an altitude of 15 km and impacted 15 to 30 km from the launch point in the North Sea. The rockets were 18 cm in diameter, 2 m long, and had a mass of 24 kg. One of the Sunday launches reached 19,750 m altitude with a meteorological payload built by the Max Planck Institute. The rocket had a thrust of 508 kgf and weighted 19.9 kg. German television covered the launches.

1961 September 16 - . Launch Site: Cuxhaven. LV Family: Cirrus. Launch Vehicle: Kumulus.
  • Cirrus rocket reaches 50 km altitude - . Nation: Germany. The first Cirrus rockets are launched. Cirrus I, a two stage rocket, with each stage providing 508 kgf, reached a velocity of 750 m/s (Mach 2.5) and 35 km altitude. Cirrus II, 4.155 m long, with a thrust of 1.8 tonnes, reached 1000 m/s and an altitude of 50 km. Kumulus I and II took biological specimens aloft. Each Kumulus had a mass of 28 kg, was 3 m long, produced 508 kgf, and reached 750 m/s, Mach 2.0. Kumulus I carried the Mexican salamander Lotte to an altitude of 12 km. Lotte landed safely in the Cuxhaven flats. Kumulus II took the goldfish Max to an altitude of 15 km, but Max, enclosed in a plexiglass globe, made a hard landing.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use