A3 (rocket) - A3 (cohete)

Rocket A3
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Comparison between all rockets A
Type Ballistic missile
Country of origin Flag of germany Nazi Germany
Production history
Designer Wernher von Braun
Designed 1935
Produced It did not go into production

A3 was the designation of a type of German rocket designed in 1935 by a team led by Wernher von Braun and conceived as a test bed for what would be a larger and more advanced rocket, the A4, better known as V2 , the first ballistic missile. of the world.

It was equipped with a guidance system consisting of three gyros and two accelerometers . All four test launches of this type of rocket were unsuccessful, which led to it being completely redesigned, giving rise to the A5 (which was still a test rocket to test the concepts that would lead to the A4).

As the A3 had a longer range than its predecessors, the test range was moved from Kummersdorf to the island of Greifswalder Oie (off the shore of the site where the historic Peenemünde facility was being built ).

The propellant consisted of liquid oxygen and 75% alcohol , with a burn time of 45 seconds. As an innovation, the A3 had a liquid nitrogen tank (inside the liquid oxygen tank) to pressurize the propellant lines, after heating the nitrogen using small electrical elements. A small camera was also added to record the measurements of the instruments located on the nose.


December 4 , 1937

First launch of an A3. The rocket (6.5 m long, 70 cm in diameter and 750 kg in weight, of which 450 kg were propellant pressurized at 20 atmospheres ) reached 100 meters in height. The engine occupied the first 2 meters of the fuselage and provided a thrust of 1.5 tons, with an exhaust gas velocity of about 1900 m / s and an expected combustion time of 45 seconds. The rocket's parachute opened prematurely within three seconds of launch and the engine failed at 6.5 seconds. The rocket fell 300 meters from the launch point, exploding.

December 6 , 1937

The rocket reached 100 meters high. It failed in a similar way to the previous one.

December 8 , 1937

The rocket reached 100 meters high. The parachute never deployed and the engine failed within seconds of launch. The rocket fell into the water and sank.

Latest launch of an A3. The rocket reached a kilometer high. It was launched without the parachute that had caused problems with the first two launches and in the middle of a dense fog . Between 800 and 1000 meters he lost his course and ended up falling into the sea. Subsequent analysis determined that the 8 m / s wind was too strong for the control surfaces to maintain the rocket's stability, and other studies showed that at low lift-off speed a wind as low as 4 m / s would have destabilized The rocket. This result led to abandoning the A3 configuration and redesigning it to build the A5.


  • Thrust: 14,700 kN
  • Weight: 740 kg
  • Diameter: 0.67 m
  • Longitud: 6,74 m
  • Wingspan: 0.93 m


  • Wade, Mark (2008). "A3" (in English) . Retrieved May 27, 2008 .

See also