Encyclopedia Astronautica
A4


The V-2, known as the A4 to its developers, was the basis for most of the rocketry that exists in the world today. It was ineffective as a weapon of war, but represented a quantum leap in technology. The A1, A2, A3, and A5 were steps in the development of the missile. Later versions - the A6 through A12 - were planned to take the Third Reich to the planets.

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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • A1 German test vehicle. First in series of rockets leading to V-2. Exploded at Kummersdorf during a test run. Considered aerodynamically unstable (a stabilising flywheel was mounted forward) and no launch attempts were made. More...
  • A2 German test vehicle. First flight test rocket in the series that led to the V-2. Two were built, dubbed Max and Moritz. Both were successfully flown. More...
  • A3 German test vehicle. The A3 was the first large rocket attempted by Wernher von Braun's rocket team. It was equipped with an ambitious guidance package consisting of three gyroscopes and two integrating accelerometers. The rocket was intended as a subscale prototype for the propulsion and control system technology planned for the much larger A4. All of the launches were failures, and a total redesign, the A5, was developed. More...
  • A5 German test vehicle. Subscale test model of A4 (V-2). Replaced the A3 in this role after its unsuccessful test series. The A5 used the same powerplant as the A3, but had the aerodynamic form of the A4 and a new control system. 25 all-up versions were flown, some several times. More...
  • A9/A10 German intercontinental boost-glide missile. The A9/A10 was the world's first practical design for a transatlantic ballistic missile. Design of the two stage missile began in 1940 and 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. More...
  • A7 German test vehicle. Subscale test model of the A9 rocket. Considered for use as a weapon as well. More...
  • A8 German cruise missile. Planned stretched version of the V-2 with storable propellants. Never reached the hardware stage, but design continued after the war in France as the 'Super V-2'. More...
  • V-2 The V-2 ballistic missile (known to its designers as the A4) was the world's first operational liquid fuel rocket. It represented an enormous quantum leap in technology, financed by Nazi Germany in a huge development program that cost at least $ 2 billion in 1944 dollars. 6,084 V-2 missiles were built, 95% of them by 20,000 slave labourer in the last seven months of World War II at a unit price of $ 17,877. As many as 3,225 were launched in combat, primarily against Antwerp and London, and a further 1,000 to 1,750 were fired in tests and training. Despite the scale of this effort, the inaccurate missile did not change the course of the war and proved to be an enormous waste of resources. The British, Americans, and Russians launched a further 86 captured German V-2's in 1945-1952. Personnel and technology from the V-2 program formed the starting point for post-war rocketry development in America, Russia, and France. More...
  • A6 German intermediate range cruise missile. The A6 designation was applied to a version of the A5 subscale V-2 using alternate propellants. It also seems to have been applied to a manned, ramjet-powered version of the A9 winged V-2. More...
  • Wasserfall Seminal German surface-to-air missile, tested during World War II, but never operational. The V-2-configuration rocket was copied in the USA as the Hermes and in the USSR as the R-101. In Russia it also became the starting point for the R-11/R-17 Scud surface-to-surface missile. More...
  • A4b German intermediate range boost-glide missile. Winged boost-glide version of the V-2 missile. The A4b designation was used to disguise work on the prohibited A9 program. More...
  • Hermes C-1 American tactical ballistic missile. The Hermes C1 was a clustered-engine intercontinental ballistic missile proposed by General Electric in June 1946. It was eventually down-scoped to a single-engine tactical missile, which flew as the Redstone in 1953. More...
  • Hermes B-1 American tactical ballistic missile. Test vehicle for Hermes II Mach 3 ramjet cruise missile. The modified V-2 merely acted as a booster for the 'Ram' second stage. More...
  • Hermes American tactical ballistic missile. Hermes was a major US Army project to implement German rocket technology after World War II. Development started in 1944 with award to General Electric as the prime contractor. The program was cancelled in 1954 after $ 96.4 million had been spent. Most of this was for nought since the Air Force received the long-range missile assignment in the end.

    The designs ran the gamut from short range solid propellant rockets through Mach 3 ramjets to intercontinental boost-glide vehicles. General Electric was also responsible for firing captured German V-2 rockets, training Army personnel in their use, and the Bumper project which created a two-stage vehicle using a V-2 and a WAC-Corporal. See individual entries for the Hermes A-1, Hermes A-3, Hermes B-1, and Hermes C. More...

  • Hermes A-3 American tactical ballistic missile. Prototype of a single-stage liquid propellant tactical Army missile. Two versions test flown but abandoned in favour of the Redstone in-house design. More...
  • Super V-2 French intermediate range ballistic missile. Developed version of German A9 studied by the German team in France in 1946-1948. Cancelled as too ambitious, but led to the Veronique of the 1950's, the Diamant of the 1960's, and the Ariane space booster of 1979-2003. More...
  • Bumper-WAC German short range ballistic test vehicle. Pioneering US demonstration of a two stage launch vehicle, coupling a V-2 with a WAC Corporal. The first ballistic missile fired from Cape Canaveral. More...
  • Hermes A-1 The Army Hermes A-1 single stage test rocket was an American version of the German Wasserfall anti-aircraft rocket. More...
  • R.04 French post-war surface-to-air missile based on the German Wasserfall. More...
  • Hermes A-2 American tactical ballistic missile. The Army Hermes A-2 single stage test rocket proved the technology of large solid rocket motors as developed by H L Thackwell at Thiokol. But the Army preferred to have further development done in-house and JPL was selected to develop the Sergeant rocket. In addition to the flight tests, a total of 22 motors were static fired, including one after seven years of storage. More...
  • R-11 First Russian ballistic missile using storable propellants, developed from the German Wasserfall SAM by Korolev's OKB. The design was then spun off to the Makeyev OKB for development of Army (R-17 Scud) and SLBM (R-11FMA) derivatives. More...
  • Redstone Redstone was the first large liquid rocket developed in the US using German V-2 technology. Originally designated Hermes C. Redstones later launched the first US satellite and the first American astronaut into space. More...
  • R-11FM First Russian submarine-launched ballistic missile. Following protracted testing the design was accepted by the military in 1959 but never put into operational service. More...
  • Jupiter A American orbital launch vehicle. The Jupiter A was a modified Redstone missile fitted with Jupiter inertial navigation and control system elements. It also tested Hydyne fuel and other engine modifications for the Jupiter C re-entry vehicle test booster. More...
  • R-11M Russian submarine-launched ballistic missile. Improved production version of R-11, not retired until 1977. More...
  • Jupiter C American orbital launch vehicle. Re-entry vehicle test booster and satellite launcher derived from Redstone missile. The Jupiter A version of the Redstone missile was modified with upper stages to test Jupiter re-entry vehicle configurations. Von Braun's team was ordered to ballast the upper stage with sand to prevent any 'inadvertent' artificial satellites from stealing thunder from the official Vanguard program. Korolev's R-7 orbited the first earth satellite instead. The Jupiter C was retroactively named the 'Juno I' by Von Braun's team. More...
  • Jupiter C Juno I American short range ballistic missile. Four stage orbital launch version consisting of 1 x Redstone + 1 x Cluster stage 2 + 1 x Cluster stage 3 + 1 x RTV Motor. The fourth stage allowed the Explorer payload to be placed into orbit. More...
  • R-11A Russian suborbital launch vehicle. Version of the R-11 'Scud' missile used as a sounding rocket. First launched in 1957, and capable of taking 250 to 400 kg of payload to 100 to 160 km altitude. The payloads were enclosed in a spherical re-entry capsule, which was gyro-stabilised to ensure instruments could be pointed precisely at the sun or other astronomical target. More...
  • Redstone MRLV American suborbital launch vehicle. Greatly modified Redstone rocket used to launch the Mercury manned spacecraft on a suborbital trajectory, typically 380 km downrange, 220 km altitude, and a speed of 6800 kph. More...
  • R-17 Russian short-range ballistic missile. The final refinement of the R-11 design, the R-17, was exported widely and became infamous around the world by its ASCC reporting name - "Scud". It was perhaps the most famous ballistic missile of the post-war period due to its use in the Iran-Iraq 'War of the Cities' and the Gulf War. This was the definitive production version of what was essentially a storable-propellant rocket with the performance of the V-2. The original design was by Makeyev but the missile itself was produced by the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant. More...
  • R-17 Russian short-range ballistic missile. The final refinement of the R-11 design, the R-17, was exported widely and became infamous around the world by its ASCC reporting name - "Scud". It was perhaps the most famous ballistic missile of the post-war period due to its use in the Iran-Iraq 'War of the Cities' and the Gulf War. This was the definitive production version of what was essentially a storable-propellant rocket with the performance of the V-2. The original design was by Makeyev but the missile itself was produced by the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant. More...
  • R-11A-MV Russian suborbital launch vehicle. Sounding rocket version of R-11 with increased payload. More...
  • Sparta American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Redstone + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x BE-3 More...
  • Hwasong 5 North Korean mobile liquid propellant single stage tactical ballistic missile. Reverse-engineered from Russian R-17's provided by Egypt around 1980. Often referred to as 'Scud-B'. 340 km range compared to 300 km for the original R-17 design. More...
  • Tamouz Iraqi space launch vehicle/ICBM based on clustering of Scud tactical missiles. Canadian rocket scientist Gerald Bull was allegedly killed by Israeli agents not for his work on the supergun, but rather for his much more damaging assistance to the Iraqis in doing the dynamic calculations for the Tamouz. More...
  • Nodong North Korean intermediate range ballistic missile. Single stage vehicle, basis for Iranian Shahab 3 and Pakistani Ghauri. More...
  • Hwasong 6 North Korean mobile liquid propellant single stage tactical ballistic missile. Derived from Russian R-17, often referred to as 'Scud-C'. The Hwasong had a 500 km range, achieved by halving the payload. More...
  • Hwasong 7 North Korean mobile liquid propellant single stage tactical ballistic missile. Derived from Russian R-17, often referred to as 'Scud-D'. The Hwasong had a 700 km range with a 500 kg payload and went into service in 1994. More...
  • Al Hussein Iraqi modification of the R-17 that doubled the missile's range at the expense of more than halving the payload and accuracy. More...
  • Al Abbas Iraqi modification of the R-17 with an 800-km range, achieved by reducing warhead weight to 125 kg, and increasing propellant load by 30 percent . More...
  • Shahab 4 Iranian missile said to be derived from Soviet-era R-12 intermediate range ballistic missile and having a 1400 kg payload. Was to have been the basis for an Iranian space launcher, then abandoned in 2003 in favor of development of the Shahab 3 for the role. More...
  • Ghauri Pakistani intermediate range ballistic missile. Derivative of North Korean Nodong. First fired April, 1998. Payload is about 700 kg. Managed by A Q Khan Research Laboratories. More...
  • Shahab 3 Iranian intermediate range ballistic missile, evolved incrementally with Russian assistance from initial copy of North Korean Nodong 1 into a longer-range missile and the first stage of an orbital launch vehicle. Initial version began flight tests in 1998. More...
  • Shahab 3 Iranian intermediate range ballistic missile, evolved incrementally with Russian assistance from initial copy of North Korean Nodong 1 into a longer-range missile and the first stage of an orbital launch vehicle. Initial version began flight tests in 1998. More...
  • Taepodong North Korean long-range ballistic missile and satellite launch vehicle consisted of a No-Dong 1 IRBM as the first stage, and a derivative of the Scud-C SRBM as the second stage. More...
  • Taepodong 1 North Korean orbital launch vehicle. The third stage for the satellite launch version was probably a small solid rocket engine. It failed to reach orbit in the 1998 launch attempt, and later such tests are believed to have used a different design. More...
  • Taepodong 2 North Korean intermediate range ballistic missile. Two-stage ballistic missile. First stage is 18 m long, second is 14 m long. More...
  • Safir-2 Iran's first orbital launch vehicle, based on the Shahab 3 intermediate range ballistic missile with upper stages. More...

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