EN­GINE: NOT ENOUGH THRUST

No ex­ist­ing en­gine has the power to lift the 13 tonne rocket, so the Nazis must de­velop one them­selves.

Science Illustrated - - SPACE -

The en­emy’s cities are hun­dreds of km away, and ex­ist­ing rocket en­gines have nei­ther the lift­ing power nor the reach to carry 1,000 kg of ex­plo­sives that far.

Luck­ily for the Nazis, physi­cist Robert H. God­dard in 1926 in­vented a rocket, pow­ered by liq­uid fuel in­stead of solid fuel, pro­vid­ing high sta­ble per­for­mance. On the down­side, it re­quires a more com­plex en­gine – a prob­lem for a large, heavy rocket such as the V-2. Many prob­lems arise. Ei­ther the high tem­per­ture mix of fuel and liq­uid oxy­gen burns through the walls of the com­bus­tion cham­ber, or the en­gine thrust is too low to pro­duce suf­fi­cient lift­ing force.

The Nazis ex­per­i­ment for a long time be­fore de­vel­op­ing a pow­er­ful, bar­rel-shaped com­bus­tion cham­ber with al­co­hol- cooled, dou­ble-skinned walls. More­over, they boost the en­gine with two turbo pumps, which in­ject fuel and oxy­gen into the com­bus­tion cham­ber at an un­prece­dented rate of 125 litres per sec­ond.

All in all, the V-2 pro­duces a thrust of 25 t – 17 times more than any other rocket of the time.

FUEL BOOSTS PROPUL­SION Liq­uid oxy­gen and ethyl-al­co­hol/wa­ter in two sep­a­rate tanks makes for a volatile but more pow­er­ful fuel sys­tem. PUMPS BOOST THE EN­GINE Two steam-pow­ered turbo pumps in­crease the fuel flow pres­sure, so more fuel is forced into...

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