Supersonic Speed Destroys Body
The V-2 rocket is the first to travel faster than the speed of sound, but at such a velocity, even the slightest instability could be disastrous.
Before the V-2, no aircraft had ever travelled faster than the speed of sound (about 1,200 km/h). The German rocket travels 4.5 times this speed, putting heavy demands on its aerodynamic stability.
One particular problem is its descent towards the target. When the V-2 rocket travels through the lower layer of the atmosphere at a speed of about 5,700 km/h, the air builds up in a bow wave, increases drag, and can even cause the V-2 to explode.
The Germans do anything in their power to develop a streamlined and sturdy design. Four fins are curved into a new, "brushed back" shape – like the tail feather of an arrow – as experiments in some of the world’s largest wind tunnels show that this will reduce turbulence and pressure at supersonic speeds. The rocket’s skin is also strengthened. Wind tunnel experiments with heat sensors show that the rocket’s surface is heated to 805°C at supersonic speeds, as friction increases. Aerodynamics experts use the knowledge to built the V-2 with the ideal type of steel to counteract break-ups.
Vanes force the rocket's centre of pressure back to the rear end, preventing it from "falling over" at high speeds. ROCKET FINS COUNTERACT SOMERSAULTS