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1931 Chronology

During 1931 - .
  • Cattaneo rocketplane - . Crew: Cattaneo. Nation: Italy. Related Persons: Cattaneo. Ettore Cattaneo flies a 280 kg rocket-boosted glider at Milan. It remains in the air for 34 seconds, covering 1 km..

1931 January 4 - . LV Family: Swan. Launch Vehicle: Swan.
  • Rocket glider 30 minute flight. - . Crew: Swan. Nation: USA. Related Persons: Swan. William G. Swan stayed aloft for 30 minutes over Atlantic City, N.J., in a glider powered with 10 small rockets..

1931 January 31 - .
  • Birth of Jay Farrar - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Farrar. American engineer. Member of the Atlas management team; later President of Sanders Associates..

1931 February 2 - . LV Family: Schmiedl. Launch Vehicle: Schmiedl.
  • First rocket-mail. - . Nation: Austria. Related Persons: Schmiedl. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi). Schmiedl launches his V7 post rocket with 100 letters aboard from Schoeckel bei Graz to Sankt Radegund, a distance of two kilometres. The 880 cm long rocket descended as planned by parachute ..

1931 February 20 - . Launch Site: Berlin. LV Family: Poggensee. Launch Vehicle: Poggensee.
  • Poggensee instrumented rocket reaches 450 m. - . Nation: Germany. Apogee: 0.45 km (0.28 mi).

    Karl Poggensee launched a powder rocket at a field near Berlin. Although the rocket technology did not represent a forward step, the rocket was was instrumented with a barometer, a camera, and a velocity measurement device. The rocket also set an altitude mark that Winkler, Nebel, and the other German liquid rocketeers had to beat in order to prove the superiority of the liquid fuel rocket.


1931 February 21 - . Launch Site: Dessau. LV Family: HW-1. Launch Vehicle: HW-1.
  • Winkler HW-1 rocket - first liquid-fuel rocket in Europe. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Winkler. Apogee: 0.0030 km (0.0019 mi).

    Funded by a Mr Hueckel, Winkler flies the first European liquid propellant rocket at Dessau, Germany. It is 60 cm high, weighs 5 kg, including 1.7 kg of liquid oxygen and methane propellants. The rocket consists of three tanks - one for the fuel, one for the oxygen, and one for the nitrogen gas that pressure-feeds the motor. The motor is a simple 18-inch long cylinder, housed at the centre of the prismatic rocket. The rocket reaches only 3 m in the first test due to a malfunction.


1931 February 24 - .
  • Birth of Lev Vasilyevich Vorobyov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Vorobyov. Russian pilot cosmonaut, 1963-1974..

March 1931 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • First liquid rocket hardware developed for the Germany Army. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Riedel, Walter. Walter Riedel, and Arthur Riedel, at the Heylandt Company, built the first 20 kgf liquid propellant engine for the Heereswaffenamt. It featured a double-walled cylindrical combustion chamber, and was used to test different propellant combinations..

1931 March 2 - .
  • Birth of Duane Edgar Graveline - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Graveline. American physician astronaut, 1965-1965..

1931 March 5 - .
  • Birth of Geraldyne M 'Jerrie' Cobb - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Cobb. American pilot, holder of four aviation records, one of the Mercury 13 female astroauts proposed in 1961, but never entered training..

1931 March 14 - . Launch Site: Dessau. LV Family: HW-1. Launch Vehicle: HW-1.
  • HW-1 reaches 500 m. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Winkler. Apogee: 0.50 km (0.31 mi). Winkler's HW-1 rocket reached 500 m over Dessau, Germany..

1931 March 29 - .
  • Birth of Aleksey Aleksandrovich Gubarev - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Gubarev. Russian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 17, Salyut 6 EP-2..

1931 March 30 - .
  • Birth of Dr Aleksey Vasilyevich Sorokin - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Sorokin. Russian physician cosmonaut, 1964-1964. Soviet Air Force Physician. On the staff of the cosmonaut training center, working in the field of aerospace medicine.Later head of department at several scientific institutes..

April 1931 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • VfR/AIS meeting. - . Nation: Germany. Raktenflugplatz in Germany was visited by Mr. and Mrs. G. Edward Pendray as official representatives of the American Interplanetary Society, who upon their return organized the experimental program of the society..

Spring 1931 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. Launch Complex: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Second Mirak explodes - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Nebel.

    Nebel and the other designers realise that using liquid oxygen to cool the combustion chamber simply would not work - it turned to gas, and the excessive pressure eventually burst the oxygen tank. They turn to a water-cooled combustion chamber. The end result was an aluminium pressure-fed engine that weighed 85 g but produced 32 kgf while burning 160 g of liquid oxygen and gasoline per second - a specific impulse of 200 seconds. The new design proves reliable and is demonstrated to visitors from the American Rocket Society in April 1931.


1931 April 15 - . Launch Site: Osnabrueck. LV Family: Tiling. Launch Vehicle: Tiling.
  • Tiling rocket - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Tiling. Apogee: 0.80 km (0.50 mi). Reinhold Tiling, financed by Baron von Ledebour, publicly demonstrates his compressed black powder rocket design at Osnabrueck. The 1.8 m long rocket uses flip-out wings for recovery, and reach altitudes of 800 m..

1931 May 3 - . LV Family: Valier. Launch Vehicle: Valier.
  • Heyland motor - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Valier. Heyland completes development testing of the rocket motor intended for Valier's rocket car. It weighs 18 kg and is capable of producing 160 kgf for several minutes. Although powerful, the specific impulse is thought to be fairly low..

1931 May 9 - .
  • Birth of Vance DeVoe Brand - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Brand. American test pilot astronaut. Flew on Apollo (ASTP), STS-5, STS-41-B, STS-35..

1931 May 10 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Mirak II / Repulsor - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Riedel, Klaus. Apogee: 0.0020 km (0.0012 mi).

    Riedel improvises a rocket, using the thrust chamber developed for the Mirak, fed by two long tanks containing liquid oxygen and gasoline, which would form guiding sticks for the forward-mounted engine. The lashed-together rocket rises to 20 m on its first 'static' test.


1931 May 14 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Mirak II / Repulsor I rocket reaches 60 m. - . Nation: Germany. Apogee: 0.0060 km (0.0037 mi).

    First official test flight of the Mirak (Minimum Rakete) II. A flight-weight version of Riedel's 'flying test stand' takes off into a looping trajectory, sending the VfR experimenters running for cover, but reaching 60 m altitude in the process. Attending were Wernher Von Braun, Klaus Riedel und Kurt Heinisch (Rudolf Nebel, the chief engineer, was in Kiel at the time).


1931 May 23 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Mirak II / Repulsor 2 - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Riedel, Klaus. Apogee: 0.0060 km (0.0037 mi). Range: 0.60 km (0.37 mi). The rocket reaches 60 m before heading off horizontally over the Raketenflugplatz, ending up in a tree outside the perimeter, 600 m from the launch point..

1931 May 24 - .
  • Birth of William L Van Horn - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Van Horn. American manager. Program Director for the Atlas Weapon System. Manager of Long Range Planning in the Atlas production program. Later Vice President and Program Director for the Atlas Weapon System..

1931 May 25 - .
  • Birth of Georgi Mikhailovich Grechko - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Grechko. Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Soyuz 17, Salyut 6 EO-1, Salyut 7 EP-5..

Early June 1931 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Mirak II / Repulsor 3 - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Riedel, Klaus. Apogee: 0.18 km (0.11 mi). Range: 0.60 km (0.37 mi). This is the first Repulsor equipped with a recovery parachute. It reaches 180 m, but then the parachute deploys early, and it falls into the same clump of trees as Repulsor 2, 600 m from the launch point..

1931 June 13 - .
  • Birth of Lachlan 'Mac' Macleay - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Macleay. American pilot astronaut, 1965-1969..

July 1931 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Mirak II rocket reaches height of 500 m - . Nation: Germany. Apogee: 0.50 km (0.31 mi). VfR successfully fired an improved Mirak (Minimum Rakete) II rocket to height of 500 m..

1931 July 3 - .
  • Birth of Mikhail Fedorovich Rebrov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Rebrov. Russian journalist cosmonaut, 1965-1974..

1931 July 20 - .
  • Birth of Marina Lavrentrevna Vasliyevna Popovich - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Popovich, Marina. Russian engineer at Antonov, VVS officer and test pilot, holder of 13 aviation world records, wife of cosmonaut Pavel Popovich, world-renowned UFO expert..

August 1931 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Mirak II / Repulsor 4 - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Riedel, Klaus. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

    The perfected Repulsor has the propellant tanks close together at the centreline, to form a guide stick in the manner of Congreve's war rockets. It reaches an altitude of 1000 m, and the parachute recovery system functioned perfectly at apogee. Subsequent such 'one stick' Repulsors' will reach 1500 m altitude and 3000 m range - in fact, they are normally launched only partially-fuelled to prevent them landing outside the perimeter of the Raketenflugplatz.


1931 August 30 - .
  • Birth of John Leonard Jr 'Jack' Swigert - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Swigert. American pilot astronaut. Flew on Apollo 13. Survived first emergency beyond low earth orbit. Altitude (401,056 km) record..

1931 September 1 - .
  • Birth of Allen Vinzant - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Vinzant. American Chief engineer for interfacing the Centaur upper stage with the Titan 4 launch vehicle..

1931 September 9 - . LV Family: Schmiedl. Launch Vehicle: Schmiedl.
  • First rocket-mail service. - . Nation: Austria. Related Persons: Schmiedl. Apogee: 2.50 km (1.50 mi). Schmiedl's Post Rocket R1, with 333 letters aboard, is launched 5 km from the top of the Hochtroetsch to the town of Semriach. A month later the first return service rocket is launched at night from Semriach to Hochtroetsch..

1931 September 25 - .
  • Initial French rocket experiments - . Nation: France. Related Persons: Barre, Esnault-Pelterie.

    Robert Esnault-Pelterie and Jean-Claude Barre begins experiments iwth liquid propellant rocket engines under funding from the Department of War. Only three weeks later Esnault-Pelterie loses the fingers of his left hand in an explosion in the laboratory. Nevertheless he and Barre persevere.


1931 September 29 - . Launch Site: Roswell. LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard 4.
  • Goddard rocket flight test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Apogee: 0.0550 km (0.0342 mi). Flight of Goddard liquid fuel rocket with jacket, streamline casing, remote control. Length, 9 ft 11 in.; diameter 12 in.; weight empty 37 lb; weight loaded 87.2 lb; in air 9.6 sec; height 180 ft; trajectory 'like a fish swimming upward.'.

October 1931 - . Launch Site: Raketenflugplatz. Launch Complex: Raketenflugplatz. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Raketenflugplatz featured in newsreel - . Nation: Germany. Apogee: 1.50 km (0.90 mi). Range: 3.00 km (1.80 mi).

    After one year of operation of the worlds first 'rocket port', the Ufa weekly newsreel carries an extensive film report on the VfR's experiments. By then 270 engine test runs had been completed, as well as 87 test flights of Repulsors. However the filmmakers also capture an errant rocket leaking gasoline onto a shack owned by the police, which burns down. This leads to further restrictions on VfR activities at the site.


1931 October 13 - . Launch Site: Roswell. LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard 4.
  • Goddard rocket flight test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Apogee: 0.52 km (0.32 mi). Flight of Goddard liquid fuel rocket with simplified combustion chamber, parachute releasing. Length 7 ft 9 in.; diameter 12 in.; height 1700+ ft; loud whistling on descent..

1931 October 27 - . Launch Site: Roswell. LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard 4.
  • Goddard rocket flight test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Apogee: 0.41 km (0.25 mi). Range: 0.28 km (0.18 mi). Flight of Goddard liquid fuel rocket with new gasoline shutoff valve. Dimensions similar to October 13; altitude 1330 ft; landed 930 ft from tower; in air 8.6 sec..

1931 November 13 - .
  • Birth of John A Manke - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Manke. American NASA test pilot 1962-1981. Flew record 42 lifting body rocketplane missions..

1931 November 23 - . LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard 4.
  • Goddard rocket static test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Static test of Goddard liquid fuel rocket with modified oxygen injection; lift 270 lb for 11 sec; jet velocity 5088 ft/sec. .

1931 December 30 - .
  • Birth of Charles Arthur II 'Charlie' Bassett - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Bassett. American test pilot astronaut, 1963-1966..


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