Encyclopedia Astronautica
Von Braun 1956-3


Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 12,400/2,100 kg. Thrust 406.77 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 297 seconds.

Status: Study 1952.
Gross mass: 12,400 kg (27,300 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 2,100 kg (4,600 lb).
Height: 2.90 m (9.50 ft).
Diameter: 2.14 m (7.02 ft).
Span: 2.14 m (7.02 ft).
Thrust: 406.77 kN (91,446 lbf).
Specific impulse: 297 s.
Burn time: 73 s.

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Associated Countries
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Von Braun 1956 German winged orbital launch vehicle. In 1956, for the book Exploration of Mars and the Disney television series, the 1952 design was significantly 'down-sized'. The first and second stages were simply reduced to 20% of their former size. A tiny expendable third stage replaced the manned glider. The manned glider itself became a seperate payload, that could be replaced by an 'all cargo' module. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Nitric acid/UDMH Drawing on the German World War II Wasserfall rocket, nitric acid (HNO3) became the early storable oxidiser of choice for missiles and upper stages of the 1950's. To overcome various problems with its use, it was necessary to combine the nitric acid with N2O4 and passivation compounds. These formulae were considered extremely secret at the time. By the late 1950's it was apparent that N2O4 by itself was a better oxidiser. Therefore nitric acid was almost entirely replaced by pure N2O4 in storable liquid fuel rocket engines developed after 1960. Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2) became the storable liquid fuel of choice by the mid-1950's. Development of UDMH in the Soviet Union began in 1949. It is used in virtually all storable liquid rocket engines except for some orbital manoeuvring engines in the United States, where MMH has been preferred due to a slightly higher density and performance. More...

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