View Single Post
Old March 3 2013, 02:54 AM   #42
Fleet Captain
Metryq's Avatar
Re: Earth ship Valiant

Ronald Held wrote: View Post
Perhaps the war slowed but not completed stopped the project?
Amazing things can slip through the cracks in wartime. The following is from SPACE SHUTTLE: THE HISTORY OF DEVELOPING THE NATIONAL SPACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM by Dennis R. Jenkins, Walsworth Publishing, 1993, pg. 2:

Though much of the early work on reusable spacecraft followed the inspiration of the Sanger-Bredt Silverbird, several German rocket engineers brought to the United States under the auspices of Project Paperclip had already participated in an attempt to develop and fly a lifting-reentry vehicle. In the midst of the Second World War, engineers working on the development of the A-4 (V2) rocket at Peenemunde had examined a wide variety of concepts for multi-stage launch vehicles, some of which used winged upper stages.

One such effort was the A-9/A-10 combination of 1944, which was envisioned by its developers as a large booster (the A-10) topped by a winged second stage (A-9) capable of delivering a one ton warhead on a target 3,000 miles away. The A-10 would boost the second-stage A-9 into the upper atmosphere, and then fall away to its destruction. The A-9 would fire its engine, continue down-range in a ballistic arc, then transition to a terminal glide at Mach 3.5 towards its target. An alternate idea placed a single-seat cockpit in the A-9, along with a tricycle landing gear. The entire vehicle would be launched vertically and then glide to a conventional landing after a 400 mile Mach 2.0 flight. An orbital version of the A-9, launched by a two-stage A-11/A-12 booster capable of lifting 60,000 pounds to an orbiting space station, was under study at the war's end.

In a totally separate, but related, effort Ludwig Roth supervised the design and building of two swept-wing derivatives of the A-4. The first of these winged A-4b ('bastard') vehicles crashed and exploded shortly after launch on 8 January 1945. The second, launched 24 January, reportedly exited the Earth's atmosphere, completed a stable ballistic reentry and began a Mach 4.0 glide to Earth. During the glide one of the wings separated from the vehicle, probably from unexpectedly high flight loads, and the A-4b broke up. If this report is true, and all available sources confirm it is, this would have been the first man-made object placed into space. The German winged reentry research efforts were terminated as the war in Europe came to an end in 1945, and neither the United States, nor the Soviet Union, seemed particularly interested in continuing it.
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
Metryq is offline   Reply With Quote