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V2 Technical Description

V2 Technical Description

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Published by: stt112 on Apr 27, 2012
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Germany’s Vengeance: The V
-2 Rocket 
Steven Toth
 Audience Analysis
The audience for this technical description will be amateur rocketeers and aerospacestudents. It will give a background and technical overview on the V-2 Rocket, one of the firstrockets to be successfully mass produced. Because this is aimed mostly at a younger and less
technically literate audience, the descriptions will have a wide assortment of layman’s terms in
them, as well as pictures to help guide the reader along. Therefore, the description would be
very similar to an article in a popular science magazine or as a ‘historical perspective’ piece
common in some textbooks.This audience will most likely have a background in basic science or engineering, and willhave a basic grasp upon most of the topics and processes presented in the description.Introductory level courses in chemistry and physics are more than enough to understand thetext.
The V-2 was a liquid fueled rocket developed in Germany during World War II by a teamheaded by the famed Wernher von Braun. (The future developer of the Saturn V, the rocketthat put man on the Moon) It was the most powerful and advanced rocket of its time, and afterthe war, a massive scramble was made by the victorious British, American, and Soviet armedforces to obtain any information related to its development and production. This includedproduction sites, prototypes, papers, and scientists; these new resources were put to use in
each country’s fledgin
g ballistic missile programs.This particular rocket is particularly important because it was the first manmade objectto enter outer space, which it did during testing in 1942. It was a direct forerunner of all futurerocket development across the world. Captured German scientists developed the nextgeneration of rockets right after the war for the victorious nations, eventually leading tointercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads, as well as advanced launchvehicles for artificial satellites.
The Vergeltungswaffe-2, or Vengeance Weapon in German
stood about 46 feet tall andits fuselage was 5 feet across at its widest point. Before fueling, it weight approximated 10,000lbs, and weighed several times that at launch. During its development, it was known that the
rocket would be flying at supersonic speeds, so special care had to be given to the shape of therocket. It was modeled after a rifle bullet, an object known for its stable flight duringsupersonic conditions.
Figure 1: The V-2 Rocket Cross-Section (Wikipedia)
In order to receive flight information following test flights, the V-2 was equipped withone of the earliest telemetry devices, which used a radio transmission to relay position andacceleration readings back to the monitoring station at the launch site.The V-2 was powered by a combination of liquid alcohol and liquid oxygen which waspumped into the combustion chamber by two high-volume, yet low-weight pumps. Thesepumps were similar to those used in fire engines at the time and were powered by small steamturbines. Steam pressure was produced by a reaction of hydrogen peroxide and sodium
permanganate, which were housed in special tanks on the rocket itself. These two solutionswere forced through the system by pressurized air, also stored in a tank aboard the vehicle.
The alcohol propellant and the oxidizer that fueled the rocket were fed from theirholding tanks into a small precombustion chamber through 1,224 small nozzles that atomizedeach liquid. The atomization, similar to a bottle of perfume spray, allowed for proper mixing of 
the fuel, while the precombustion chamber helped lower the rocket engine’s operating
temperature and reduce thermal damage on the fuel injection nozzles.The fuel would last about 60 seconds, but that would be long enough to propel therocket upwards of 60 miles into the air while moving at about 4,400 feet per second. Thecombustion of the propellants raises the temperature of the engine to about 5,000 degreesFahrenheit, hot enough to melt steel. To reduce the chances of a catastrophic failure due tothese large thermal stresses in the thrust nozzle, the alcohol fuel is circulated around theengine
’s nozzle
before it is burned in order to cool the engine down. This is very similar to howthe cooling system in a car works.
Of course, to be effective in wartime, the rocket had to be controlled and guided into itstarget. Vanes made of graphite (to resist the extreme temperatures) were located on the finsand redirected the exhaust gases in order to direct the rocket during flight. These vanes werecontrolled by gyroscopes,
a simple device, similar to a child’s toy top that
maintains orientation,mounted on an inertially fixed platform. This means that the platform would not move withrespect with the ground, even as the rocket around it moved through its trajectory.
This development allowed the rocket’s position and acceleration to be measured, and
ensured that when the proper velocity needed to hit the target was achieved, fuel to the burnchamber would be cut off. The technology was developed in house, and its relative immaturityof this technology was evident, as it was unable to accurately strike a target from its launch site.From about 200 miles away, its impact area was approximately the size of a large city, whilecruise missiles today can accurately target something the size of a standard window.
“I Aim for the Stars”
The V-2 was perhaps the most feared German weapon during the Second World War. Ithit its targets at three times the speed of sound, allowing no advanced warning of its impendingimpact. Parts of London were destroyed by the rockets, and over 3,000 civilian lives were lost.The weapons were produced during the dying days of Nazi Germany, proclaimed as a wonder

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