Did the Germans launch a crewed rocket into space in 1933?
2012 05 15

By Ron Miller | io9.com

On October 29, 1933, the London Sunday Referee published a report from Rugen, an island in the Baltic Sea, just off the coast of Germany. Someone named Otto Fischer had flown inside a 24-foot steel rocket, to an altitude of six miles. Were the Germans really testing out a rocket that could carry people, nearly three decades before Yuri Gagarin?

Reports said that Otto was the brother of the rocket’s designer, Bruno Fischer. The flight had been made in total secrecy because of a fatal attempt at a launch the previous year, combined with the fact that the flight had been made under the auspices of the Reichswehr, the German War Ministry. The rocket, the Referee reported, had been constructed in the town of Barmbeck, near Hamburg, and transported to Rügen.

"On Sunday morning, at 6 o’clock," the paper reported, "Otto Fischer shook hands with his brother and the small group of Reichswehr officials present to witness the experiment, and crawled into the rocket through the small steel door.

"Bruno Fischer and the three officials then retired to a small hollow in the ground about two hundred yards away and Fischer closed the switch that sent the rocket on its journey. There was a blinding flash and a deafening explosion, and the slim torpedo-shaped body was gone from the steel framework in which it had rested.

[...]


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