Saturday, August 16, 2014

Retro Saturday: V-2 Assembling and Launching

Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: The Digital Implosion YouTube channel.

This week's Retro Saturday film is a 1947 War Department documentary titled, V-2 Assembling and Testing.

The V-2's ancestry descends directly into Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

At the end of World War II, Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of German scientists surrendered to the U.S. Army. They showed the Army where to find hidden parts of the V-2 “Vengeance” rocket, known formally as the A-4.

Von Braun and his team were sent with the V-2 parts to the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico to continue their research, and teach Americans what they knew about liquid-fueled rocketry.

Once the V-2 tests began to outgrow the limits of White Sands, the Defense Department chose to reopen the former Banana River Naval Air Station bombing range on Cape Canaveral. It was originally named the Joint Long Range Proving Ground. The first four pads, just concrete slabs, were built on the tip of the Cape so the rockets could launch out over the ocean.

The first launch was Bumper 8, a modified V-2 with a WAC Corporal upper stage, from Pad 3 on July 24, 1950.

Von Braun and his team began development of a next-generation vehicle called Redstone, after their new home at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. The earliest Redstone launch attempts were from Pad 4 in late 1953.

Although its German origins are acknowledged at the beginning of the documentary, neither von Braun nor his team appear in the film. Most likely, it was because this was a time when the Germans were still viewed with suspicion by their American counterparts and they did not want to acknowledge to the public that former Nazis were integral to the nation's nascent rocket program.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing to see people working around fully fueled missile. Safety rules were much lenient then.