Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: © Mark Wade
German Army firing range, on the rail line 46 km south of Berlin. The German Army conducted rocket firing tests here from 1930 to 1945, and von Braun's rocket team worked here at first while developing the V-2. Actual launches of the rockets, after the earliest tests, moved to Greifswalder Oie and then Peenemuende on the Baltic.

Location: Kummersdorf-West.
Longitude: 13.2000 deg.
Latitude: 52.0500 deg.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Mirak Mirak - a 'Minimum Rocket' - was conceived by Rudolf Nebel to demonstrate the practicality of the liquid rocket, using the thrust chamber developed for the abandoned Oberth rocket. Mirak was realised not by Nebel, but talented engineer Riedel. It flew over 100 times in 1931-1932 and convinced the German Army of the practicality of the rocket as a weapon of war. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies

Kummersdorf Chronology

1930 December 17 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Kummersdorf selected for missile development. - . Nation: Germany. German Army Ordnance Office, after reviewing work of Goddard and others, decided to establish rocket program and to equip artillery proving ground at Kummersdorf to develop military missiles. The German Army issues the first budget for rocket development - 5,000 Reichsmarks.

July 1931 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2. LV Configuration: Mirak II.
  • Dornberger put in charge of Kummersdorf. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Dornberger. Summary: The German Army Ordnance Office formalized its rocket develoment program by placing Captain-Doctor Walter Dornberger in charge of Research Station West at Kummersdorf..

August 1932 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. Launch Vehicle: Mirak.
  • Nebel demonstrates VfR liquid rocket to the German Army. - . Nation: Germany. Apogee: 0.0700 km (0.0435 mi). Nebel contacted the German Army and proposed the use of liquid fuel rockets as war missiles. He arranged for Army representatives to observe a demonstration launch at Kummersdorf. Riedel and Von Braun prepare the rocket, which was 3.5 m long and 10 cm in diameter, had a gross lift-off mass of 20 kg, an empty mass of 10 kg, and a thrust of 60 kgf. The new design featured the engine forward of the stack, followed by the liquid oxygen tank, then the alcohol tank, then the manometers and other elements of propellant pressurisation. The new-design engine was developed by Walter Riedel and Arthur Rudolph at the Heylandt Company. The rocket reached an altitude of 20 to 70 m before veering horizontally into a forest. An exhaust velocity of 2000 m/s was expected, but only 1700 m/s was demonstrated.. The Army is seemingly unimpressed. However a month later they hire Von Braun, who drops out of sight.

October 1932 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Von Braun joins German Army missile program. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: von Braun. Wernher von Braun joined the German Army Ordnance Office rocket program at Kummersdorf. He is working on a 300 kgf thrust liquid propellant engine, which has been tested with an exhaust velocity of 1700 m/s, but it is believed can be tuned up to as much as 1900 m/s. This is to power the A1 rocket, which is to have the same tractor configuration as the 20 kg test rocket launched in August 1932. The main issue is how to solve the problem of keeping the rocket stabilised in flight, as the August test demonstrated. The A1 is to be 1.4 m long x 30 cm in diameter, a 150 kg gross takeoff weight, and 40 kg of propellant., allowing a 16.5 second burn time.

1932 December 21 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Rocket test stand explosion at Kummersdorf. - . Nation: Germany. Summary: No one was injured and more stringent safety precautions were taken in the future..

1934 July 16 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Liquid rocket explosion kills three. - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Wahmke. Summary: Dr Kurt Wahmke and two technicians were testing a 90% H2O2/Alcohol combination at Kummersdorf when the chamber exploded, killing them. These were the first and only deaths of technicians in the history of German rocket development..

During 1936 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. Launch Vehicle: Me-163.
  • First test of liquid rocket engine intended for use on aircraft - . Nation: Germany. Spacecraft: Junkers 'Junior'. A 300 kgf engine was installed in a Junkers 'Junior' aircraft fuselage at Kummersdorf. This was the first rocket engine installation in an aircraft. But the problem to be solved was how to ensure continuous operation of the engine during aircraft manoeuvres. The rocket team finally built a big carousel, capable of testing the engine installation at up to 5 G's.

December 1936 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. Launch Vehicle: He-112.
  • Rocketplane stand tests completed at Kummersdorf - . Nation: Germany. Summary: During the year the team had proven installation of a 1000 kgf engine, installed in a He-112, at burn times of up to 90 seconds..

1939 March 23 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: A3.
  • Hitler visits Kummersdorf-West - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Valier; Dornberger; Hitler. This was the first time he became acquainted with liquid rocket engine technology. 300 kgf and 1000 kgf engines were fired in his presence. A colour-coded cutaway model of the A3 rocket was presented and its systems explained. Hitler was quiet throughout the exhibits and asked no questions. Afterwards, while taking lunch at the mess hall, he asked only about the development schedule (clucking when told), the range of the missile, and the impact on the schedule if synthetic 'Eisenbled' was substituted for light metal alloys in the rocket frame. Hitler spoke of deceased rocket pioneer Max Valier - he had known him in Munich, but dismissed him as a dreamer. Dornberger countered by comparing the state of rocket development to the early days of the zeppelin, when Lillienthal made the first primitive experiments. Hitler in turn dismissed airships as dangerous, filled with explosive gas . The Fuehrer finally departed with handshakes and few words. His summary of the day: 'Es war doch gewaltig' (it was impressive, nevertheless). The rocket team was dismayed - it was the first time a visitor had exhibited no reaction to the power the rocket engines when fired for their benefit. But on the plus side, Von Brauchtisch said he was astounded at the progress made by the team in only a few years. Dornberger believed Hitler was enthralled with artillery and tanks, and was unimpressed with rocket technology. He thought Hitler didn't understand the possibilities and didn't believe the time had come yet for development of the rocket as a weapon.

1939 September 12 - . Launch Site: Kummersdorf. LV Family: V-2. Launch Vehicle: V-2.
  • Goering tours Kummersdorf-West - . Nation: Germany. Related Persons: Hitler. Summary: Unlike Hitler, he was enthusiastic about the potential of rocket technology..

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