A5 (rocket) - A5 (cohete)

Rocket A5
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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 1938
Produced It did not go into production

A5 was the name of a series of German rockets built in 1938 by a team led by Wernher von Braun and conceived as a test bed and scale model of what would become the A4, better known as V2 , the world's first ballistic missile .

The A5 used the same engine as the A3 (powered by liquid oxygen and 75% alcohol ) but already had the aerodynamic shape of the A4 and a new control system. Up to 25 models of the A5 were built and launched, some of which were flown multiple times. The recovery of the rocket was done thanks to a parachute system . Some models had no propulsion system and were built for airdrop tests. The A5s were launched in the period between 1938 and 1942 from Peenemünde and the island of Greifswalder Oie .


The first A5 arrived in Peenemunde a few weeks after the failure of the third launch of the A3 and was a non-powered model intended to be launched from a great height in order to achieve supersonic speeds in the fall and thus test the aerodynamics that the V2 would later use. This model weighed 250 kg, was 1.6 m long, and was 20 cm in diameter.

In the summer of 1938, four launches were made from the island of Greifswalder Oie without the stabilization system or parachutes. In the tests they reached between 8 and 12 km in height.

Stabilization system tests began in September 1938, using large amounts of A5 to scale. These were models like the one used in the free fall tests, but weighing only 47 kg, of which 27 were inert mass. The propellant consisted of 85% hydrogen peroxide combined with calcium permanganate as a catalyst. The engine produced 120 kiloponds of force for 15 seconds, with an exhaust gas velocity of 1000 m / s. As a result of these tests, stabilizer fins were designed for the A4 that were shorter and wider than those used on the failed A3s, although they still had trouble maintaining control in high winds and tended to rotate the rocket around its long axis.

In September 1939 the first free fall test of an A5 took place. It was dropped by a He-111 bomber from an altitude of 7000 meters. It broke the sound barrier at 1000 meters high, with a speed of 360 m / s. The stabilizer fins kept the rocket's maximum oscillation within 5 degrees from vertical. The rocket decelerated to 100 m / s after releasing the braking parachute and after releasing the main parachute, it braked to 5 m / s, falling into the sea.

In October 1939 three launches were made from Greifswalder Oie to test the new control system, manufactured by Siemens. The first was a vertical launch, reaching 7 km in height in 45 seconds, at which point the engine ran out of propellant. The main and braking parachutes worked properly, causing the rocket to fall into the sea (the rocket was capable of floating for two hours before the water entering the empty tanks sank it) and was recovered by a launch. The second launch was practically identical to the first. With the third, the necessary pitching maneuver for the A4 was tested for the first time, which worked perfectly: the rocket started pitching 4 seconds after launch, reaching 5 km in height and 6 km away, falling into the sea and being later recovered.

The tests continued with five more launches, all successful, in which gyroscopic controls and parachutes were used , reaching between 12 and 18 km of altitude.


  • Thrust: 15,000 kN
  • Weight: 900 kg
  • Diameter: 0.78 m
  • Longitud: 5,82 m

See also


  • Wade, Mark (2008). "A5" (in English) . Retrieved May 27, 2008 .