Encyclopedia Astronautica
Oberth



zfrau4.jpg
Frau im Mond
German sounding rocket. Rocket pioneer Hermann Oberth agreed to build and fly a liquid propellant rocket to publicise the Fritz Lang film Frau im Mond. Oberth's design was too ambitious and the rocket was never completed in time for the film's premiere. But the engine developed for it would be further refined and used in the Mirak rocket, flown in 1931-1933.

As part of publicity for the film Frau im Mond, director Fritz Lang retained rocket pioneer Hermann Oberth as technical consultant. Lang provided Oberth with funds to build and launch a liquid-propellant rocket to publicise the film. Oberth's rocket, using a conical combustion chamber to mix liquid oxygen and gasoline, was 1.8 m tall and was to have been launched to an altitude of 64 km over the Baltic Sea from Greifswalder Oie. One of the assistants hired by Oberth to fabricate the rocket was Rudolph Nebel, a World War I fighter pilot with (unfortunately) little actual engineering experience. Oberth also had no practical engineering or organizational ability, and was unable to produce the liquid rocket in the four months allotted. He then turned to an 11-m tall hybrid rocket that was to burn a to-be-determined carbon compound with liquid oxygen. This also proved impossible, and Oberth simply gave up and left town - returning, however, for the film's premiere on 15 October 1929. Ufa studios took ownership of the unfinished rockets.

The work was not in vain, however. The Berlin rocket enthusiasts decided to try and get the Oberth rocket materials back from Ufa and press on to demonstrate flight of a liquid propellant rocket. For this purpose the Oberth rocket was much too ambitious and probably wouldn't work anyway. Nebel proposed building a new 'Minimum Rakete' or 'Mirak' to demonstrate that it could be done. Work begins to obtain funds to ground test and perfect Oberth's 'Kegelduese' conical rocket motor. This eventually would power the Mirak to a series of rocket tests in 1931-1933.

Status: Cancelled 1929.
Height: 1.80 m (5.90 ft).

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
Bibliography
  • Ley, Willy, Rockets Missiles and Men in Space, Viking Press, New York, 1968.

Oberth Chronology


1929 October 15 - . Launch Vehicle: Oberth.
  • Frau im Mond (The Girl in the Moon) premieres in Berlin. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Oberth; Nebel. The film, directed by Fritz Lang, with Hermann Oberth as technical consultant, provided a realistic portrayal of the rollout and launch of a liquid-propellant booster sending a manned expedition to the moon. Lang provided Oberth with funds to build and launch a liquid-propellant rocket to publicise the film. Oberth's rocket, using a conical combustion chamber to mix liquid oxygen and gasoline, was 1.8 m tall and was to have been launched to an altitude of 64 km over the Baltic Sea from Greifswalder Oie. One of the assistants hired by Oberth to fabricate the rocket was Rudolph Nebel, a World War I fighter pilot with (unfortunately) little actual engineering experience. Oberth also had no practical engineering or organizational ability, and was unable to produce the liquid rocket in the four months allotted. He then turned to an 11-m tall hybrid rocket that was to burn a to-be-determined carbon compound with liquid oxygen. This also proved impossible, and Oberth simply gave up and left town - returning, however, for the film's premiere. Ufa studios took ownership of the unfinished rockets.

December 1929 - . Launch Vehicle: Mirak; Oberth.
  • VfR regroups - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Oberth; Nebel; Winkler; Ley; Riedel, Klaus. Winkler had resigned as president. Oberth is back in Berlin, and a meeting is held, with Nebel, Wurm, Oberth, Klaus Riedel, Winkler, and Willy Ley in attendance. It was decided to try and get the Oberth rocket materials back from Ufa and press on to demonstrate flight of a liquid propellant rocket. For this purpose the Oberth rocket was much too ambitious and probably wouldn't work anyway. Nebel proposes building a new 'Minimum Rakete' or 'Mirak' to demonstrate that it could be done. Work begins to obtain funds to ground test and perfect Oberth's 'Kegelduese' conical rocket motor.

1930 April 11 - . Launch Vehicle: Mirak; Oberth.
  • VfR evening in Berlin - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Winkler; Oberth. Summary: The VfR presents itself to the scientific community in Berlin. Winkler gives a lecture at the auditorium of the Central Post Office, and the Oberth rocket, Kegelduese, and other articles are displayed..

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