Modern rocketry

Modern rockets were born when Goddard attached a supersonic (de Laval) nozzle to a liquid-fueled rocket engine's combustion chamber. These nozzles turn the hot gas from the combustion chamber into a cooler, hypersonic, highly directed jet of gas, more than doubling the thrust and raising the engine efficiency from 2% to 64%.[48][49] In 1926, Robert Goddard launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket in Auburn, Massachusetts. During the 1920s, a number of rocket research organizations appeared worldwide. In 1927 the German car manufacturer Opel began to research rocket vehicles together with Mark Valier and the solid-fuel rocket builder Friedrich Wilhelm Sander.[50] In 1928, Fritz von Opel drove with a rocket car, the Opel-RAK.1 on the Opel raceway in Russelsheim, Germany. In 1928 the Lippisch Ente flew, rocket power was used to launch the manned glider, although it was destroyed on its second flight. In 1929 von Opel started at the Frankfurt-Rebstock airport with the Opel-Sander RAK 1-airplane, which was damaged beyond repair during a hard landing after its first flight. In the mid-1920s, German scientists had begun experimenting with rockets that used liquid propellants capable of reaching relatively high altitudes and distances. In 1927 and also in Germany, a team of amateur rocket engineers had formed the Verein fur Raumschiffahrt (German Rocket Society, or VfR), and in 1931 launched a liquid propellant rocket (using oxygen and gasoline).[51] From 1931

to 1937 in Russia, extensive scientific work on rocket engine design occurred in Leningrad at the Gas Dynamics Laboratory there. Well-funded and staffed, over 100 experimental engines were built under the direction of Valentin Glushko. The work included regenerative cooling, hypergolic propellant ignition, and fuel injector designs that included swirling and bi-propellant mixing injectors. However, the work was curtailed by Glushko's arrest during Stalinist purges in 1938. Similar work was also done by the Austrian professor Eugen Sanger who worked on rocket-powered spaceplanes such as Silbervogel (sometimes called the 'antipodal' bomber.)[52] On November 12, 1932 at a farm in Stockton NJ, the American Interplanetary Society's attempt to static fire their first rocket (based on German Rocket Society designs) failed in a fire.[53] In 1930s, the Reichswehr (which in 1935 became the Wehrmacht) began to take an interest in rocketry.[54] Artillery restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles limited Germany's access to long distance weaponry. Seeing the possibility of using rockets as long-range artillery fire, the Wehrmacht initially funded the VfR team, but because their focus was strictly scientific, created its own research team. At the behest of military leaders, Wernher von Braun, at the time a young aspiring rocket scientist, joined the military (followed by two former VfR members) and developed long-range weapons for use in World War II by Nazi Germany.