Rocket Mail continued 2

Why Rocket Mail

It is interesting to note that even at this time nobody thought of using rockets for war purposes; i.e. of developing missiles with warheads. Only when some high Reichswehr (German Armed Forced) officers became interested, the first funds for developing missiles were allocated. Their interest of these is explained by the provisions of the Peace of Versailles at the end of the First World War, forbidding to Germany all aircraft and antiaircraft guns and field artillery of more than three-inch caliber. The rockets with warheads could overcome these limitations. But this has northing to do with Austrian rocket history.

The possibilities and advantages of rockets for the transportation of mail are today generally recognized, but who-before World War II-was familiar with rockets, guided missiles, or jet propulsion?

In 1928, Schmiedl began his experiments. He had already recognized that rockets were the ideal means of transporting fail over long distances because they attain extraordinary speed at extreme altitudes where friction is almost non-existent. Thus little energy is required to traverse very long distances once the denser layers of the atmosphere have been penetrated. Since the descent requires fuel-it is made by parachute-rocket mail should prove very economical for longer distances.

Especially interesting is the inscription of the V-5 rocket-letter of May 14, 1930: "It is theoretically possible to send mail from Europe to America in about 40 minutes by Rockets. It is theoretically possible to reach, by means of the Rocket, any part of the surface of the earth in less than one hour. It is theoretically possible that we can leave earth, by means of the rocket: Space Flight."

In a 1931 interview Schmiedl foresaw the use of rockets for trans-Atlantic mail transportation, once the problems of long-range guidance were solved, and the reliability of the performance was improved. His own experimental rockets were guided by radio (as were the German "V" weapons a decade later), by optical means, and by infra-red rays. To improve performance, he preceded his rocket experiments with a study of conditions in the stratosphere by sending up a balloon with certain measuring devices. Later he put instruments into his "registry rockets", experimented with jet propulsion and with a glider to carry fuel and payload attached to the rocket. For fuel he used first powdered and later liquid fuel. He launched rockets from a catapult in a rowboat in the middle of a lake, and constructed and used successfully "step rickets" which delivered with one flight mail to two different points... read more