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1940 Chronology

1940 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A9/A10.
  • Design A9/A10 of the two stage transatlantic ballistic missile began in 1940. - . Nation: Germany.

    First flight would have been in 1946. Work on the A9/A10 was prohibited after 1943 when all efforts were to be spent on perfection and production of the A4 as a weapon-in-being. Von Braun managed to continue some development and flight tests of the A9 under the cover name of A4b (i.e. a modification of the A4, and therefore a production-related project). In late 1944 work on the A9/A10 resumed under the code name Projekt Amerika, but no significant hardware development was possible after the last test of the A4b in January 1945.


Early 1940 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • A4 radio guidance tests - . Nation: Germany.

    In early 1940 a Do-17M aircraft was equipped with a Siemens fully automatic autopilot. This was designed to keep the aircraft within a 50 mhz guidance beam, which was produced at a 3 kW transmitter installed at Bornholm Island in Denmark, northeast of Peenemuende. The aircraft would capture the beam b flying within 1 degree of the its centre at a distance of 2 km from the transmitter. After a 140 km flight the aircraft would still be within 20 m of the correct position. The beam had a total effective range of 200 km. The Peenemuende team remembered its accuracy by the fact that on each test they would always fly over the same small red house in Bornholm on the coast.

    Use of the system on the A4 was complicated by the problem of the electrical charge that formed on the rocket body during flight through the atmosphere, and the electrical ions in the rocket exhaust, both of which made good reception of radio signals difficult. 90% of a 50 mhz signal was attenuated at the critical moment of engine cut-off. Another accuracy issue was oscillation of the rocket once it was out of the atmosphere - the rudders in the exhaust did not act smoothly, producing the equivalent of pilot-induced oscillations. The solution was to develop a missile that rode the beam during the entire boost phase, not just converging with it at the point of engine cut-off.

    Many partial system test stands were used to solve these control and guidance problems, most notably a full-up 'iron bird' that could be used to test the effect of new systems on existing components.


1940 January 14 - .
  • Birth of Valeri Grigoryevich Makrushin - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Makrushin. Russian engineer cosmonaut, 1972-1987. Studied from 1957 to 1963 at Leningrad Institute of Aircraft Design (LIAP). Civilian Engineer, Chelomei OKB. Returned to NPO Mashinostroenniye..

1940 January 27 - .
  • Birth of Brian Todd O Leary - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: O Leary. American scientist astronaut, 1967-1968..

1940 February 1 - .
  • Birth of Franco Rossitto - . Nation: Italy. Related Persons: Rossitto. Italian physicist payload specialist astronaut, 1984-1986..

1940 February 28 - .
  • First powered flight of the RP-318 rocketplane. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: Russian Rocket Fighters. Spacecraft: RP-318. Test pilot V P Fedorov was towed to 2600 m and cast off at 80 km/hr. The rocket then fired and accelerated the aircraft to 140 m/s and 2900 m altitude. The RP-318 flew nine times before the war ended the work..

Early 1940 - .
  • Von Braun learns of Saenger's secret work at Trauen - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hermann, Rudolf, Saenger, Thiel, Walter, von Braun.

    Saenger's advanced rocketry work was so secret that Von Braun was not even aware of it until one of his team, looking for a new method of rocket ignition, heard of its existence. Von Braun, Walter Thiel, and Rudolf Hermann were finally given a tour of Saenger's advanced facilities at Trauen.


1940 March 7 - .
  • Birth of Viktor Petrovich Savinykh - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Savinykh. Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Salyut 6 EO-6, Salyut 7 EO-4-1a, Mir EP-2..

1940 March 19 - . LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • A4 rocket development removed from priority list. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hitler.

    After the military success in Poland, Hitler believes development of expensive 'wonder weapons' are unnecessary to win the war. The A4 and other rocket projects are removed from the priority list, making acquisition of necessary materials and engineers difficult.


1940 March 21 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • First full-duration test of A4 engine. - . Nation: Germany. The engine is run at 25 tonnes thrust for 60 seconds on Test Stand I at Peenemuende..

1940 April 4 - .
  • Birth of Vladimir Timofeyevich Isakov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Isakov. Russian navigator cosmonaut, 1967-1983..

1940 April 9 - .
  • Hitler invades Norway, Denmark - . Nation: Germany.

1940 April 9 - .
  • Birth of Vasily Dmitriyevich Shcheglov - . Nation: Russia, Ukraine. Related Persons: Shcheglov. Russian pilot cosmonaut, 1965-1972. Graduated from Yeisk Higher Military Pilot School, 1963 Cosmonaut training November 1965 - December 1967. Withdrawn from cosmonaut team for medical reasons..

1940 May 1 - .
  • Von Braun promoted to SS Untersturmfuehrer. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: von Braun. Von Braun's membership in the SS is 'renewed' and he is promoted to Untersturmfuehrer with the SS number 185068. According to some accounts he had joined the SS as early as 1934..

1940 May 10 - .
  • Hitler invades the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg - . Nation: Germany.

1940 May 12 - .
  • Hitler invades France - . Nation: Germany.

1940 May 15 - . LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard P-C.
  • Goddard Series P Section C rocket static test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Static test, flame hot, apparently large lift; ground behind dame deflector looked melted..

1940 May 28 - .
  • Goddard designs rejected by US military. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard.

    Robert H. Goddard offered all his research data, patents, and facilities for use by the military services at a meeting with representatives of Army Ordnance, Army Air Corps, and Navy Bureau of Aeronautics arranged by Harry Guggenheim. Nothing resulted from this except an expression of possible use of rockets in jet-assisted take-offs of aircraft.


1940 June 11 - . LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard P-C.
  • Goddard Series P Section C rocket static test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Static test, steadier run 43.5 sec, longest to date; red-hot stones seen to fly up out of cement gas deflector..

1940 June 16 - .
  • Birth of Dr Taylor Gun-Jin Wang - . Nation: China, USA. Related Persons: Wang. Chinese-American physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-51-B..

1940 July 1 - .
  • Rocket ordnance research begun. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard.

    National Defense Research Committee established Jet Propulsion Research Committee under Section H of Division A, at Naval Powder Factory, Indian Head, Md., to conduct fundamental research on rocket ordnance. C. N. Hickman, who had worked with Goddard during World War I, was named as head.


Summer 1940 - . Launch Site: Peenemuende. Launch Complex: Peenemuende. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Peenemuende test stands completed. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Thiel, Walter. Thiel and the remaining staff of the rocket team at Kummersdorf moved to Peenemuende..

1940 July 2 - .
  • Birth of Georgi Ivanov - . Nation: Bulgaria. Related Persons: Ivanov, Georgi. Bulgarian pilot cosmonaut. Flew on Salyut 6 EP-5-1. First Bulgarian astronaut. Changed his name when he was selected for cosmonaut training because Kakalov had a scatalogical meaning in Russian. Later member of the Bulgarian Parliament..

1940 July 23 - .
  • Birth of Daniel S Goldin - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goldin. American engineer, NASA Administrator 1992-2001. Attempted reforms, with economical approach to space probe development and X-33, X-34, and X-38 to lower space launch costs. These seen as failures; while the ISS budget went out of control..

1940 August 1 - .
  • British seek US assistance in rocket technology. - . Nation: USA.

    Sir Henry Tizard, scientific adviser to the British Ministry of Aircraft Production, headed mission of leading British and Canadian scientists to brief official American representatives on devices under active development for war use and to enlist the support of American scientists. This was the beginning of very close cooperation of Anglo-American scientists in many fields, including aeronautics and rocketry, and enabled American laboratories to catch up with war-accelerated progress.


1940 August 8 - .
  • Birth of Dennis Anthony Tito - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Tito. American engineer cosmonaut. Flew on ISS EP-1. First space tourist. First American to return to earth in a Russian spacecraft..

1940 August 9 - . Launch Site: Roswell. LV Family: Goddard. Launch Vehicle: Goddard P-C.
  • Goddard Series P Section C rocket flight test - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Goddard. Apogee: 0.0900 km (0.0559 mi). First flight with pumps, altitude 300 ft; velocity low, 10-15 mph. .

1940 September - .
  • Korolev moved from Kolyma to Tupolev 'sharashka'. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. At the instigation of aircraft designer Tupolev, Korolev is transferred from Kolyma gold mines to a secret police 'special design bureau' - a unit consisting of imprisoned engineers..

1940 September 10 - .
  • Birth of Yevgeni Nikolayevich Khludeyev - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Khludeyev. Russian engineer cosmonaut, 1965-1988. Graduated from Kiev AF Academy of Engineering,1962. Cosmonaut training November 1965 - December 1967. Worked as research scientist at the Gagarin Center. Involved in the Buran program from 1986 - 1988..

1940 September 12 - .
  • Birth of Dr Roger Keith Crouch - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Crouch. American physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-83, STS-94..

1940 September 28 - .
  • Birth of Aleksandr Segeyevich Ivanchenkov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Ivanchenkov. Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Salyut 6 EO-2, Salyut 7 EP-1. Graduated MAI, 1964 Civilian Engineer, Korolev OKB. Trained for a Buran flight. From 1993 served as deputy director of 29th Department, RKK Energia..

October 1940 - .
  • Saenger attends hypersonics conference at Peenemuende. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Saenger, von Braun. Reciprocating his visit to Saenger's Trauen facility earlier in the year, Von Braun obtains permission for Saenger to attend a hypersonics symposium at Peenemuende..

1940 October 6 - .
  • Birth of Boris Dmitriyevich Andreyev - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Andreyev. Russian engineer cosmonaut, 1972-1983. Off flight roster for medical reasons. Civilian Engineer, Korolev OKB.

1940 October 28 - .
  • Birth of Gennadi Mikhailovich Strekalov - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Strekalov. Russian engineer cosmonaut. Flew on Salyut 6 EO-5, Soyuz T-8, Soyuz T-10-1, Salyut 7 EP-3, Mir EO-7, Mir EO-18. Survived first manned launch pad abort. Flew in space six times. Civilian Engineer, Korolev OKB..

1940 November 25 - .
  • Birth of Dr Reinhard Alfred Furrer - . Nation: Austria. Related Persons: Furrer. Austrian physicist payload specialist astronaut. Flew on STS-61-A..

1940 December 31 - .
  • Birth of Oleg Anatolyevich Yakovlev - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Yakovlev. Russian pilot cosmonaut, 1965-1973..


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