Daring Rocketmen to Invade the Stratosphere (May, 1934)

This reminds me of the ill-fated Rotary Rocket company.

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Daring Rocketmen to Invade the Stratosphere

The rocket-shooters are going to pitch in again this coming summer. Undaunted by reverses and tragedies during the past year’s experiments, the rocketeers are tackling their work with renewed vigor and ambition, plus improved apparatus and chemicals.

Ernst Loebell, famous German engineer and rocket designer, promises to bring the rocket engines to their greatest point of achievement next summer. He is now in this country and is an active worker in the Cleveland Rocket Society.

Loebell has been carrying on bis preliminary experiments on the big Hanna estate in a suburb of Cleveland. In their operations the Cleveland group has been making use of the lessons taught by the experiments of Loebell’s countryman, the late Reinhold Tilling, a noted radio engineer and rocket builder.

Prior to his death. Tilling had been experimenting with rockets and rocket planes for months. The success of a rocket which reached a height of (6,000 feet in 1931 spurred him on to the construction of a rocket with glider wings which unfolded when the fuel was exhausted and brought the projectile gently to earth. This feat was hailed as one of the first practical steps toward the development of mail and passenger carrying rockets.

The Tilling rockets were set in motion by telignition from a distance of 100 yards. They attained a speed of 700 miles an hour and landed five miles from the starting point, in accordance with calculations. Herr Tilling was working on a system designed to manipulate his rockets by radio control when he and a female assistant were killed in the explosion of a rocket which they were charging.

Such information as emanated from the secrecy surrounding Tilling’s operations at Osnarbrueck, Germany, has since been in the possession of the Cleveland Rocket

Society’s guiding geniuses. They plan to adopt the Tilling heritage and carry his work to further perfection.

Ernst Loebell and his assistant, Ted Banna, have also investigated another secret German rocket—that of the famous Fischer brothers, details of which have also been closely guarded. The Fischers have achieved the biggest advance thus far in the field of passenger rocket flying.

The Fischers pursued their experiments on the island of Rugen in the Baltic Sea under the auspices of the German War Ministry. Otto Fischer, brother of Bruno, who designed the rocket, was shot up 32,-000 feet, more than six miles, into the air in a 24-foot steel projectile.

At the peak of the rocket’s trajectory, Otto released a parachute attached to the

rocket and maneuvered a safe landing. The ascent lasted 10 minutes and 26 seconds.

Equipped with a knowledge of the experiments of all their contemporaries, the Cleveland rocketeers are ready to make progress with their own design which they think will have greater practical value than the products of the scientists across the sea.

In the final test of the model, Loebell stood behind a steel shield—mindful of the fate of other rocket-workers in dealing with the highly volatile gas combinations—and adjusted the fuel valves.

When everything was adjusted, Loebell warned everybody except Hanna to withdraw to a trench so they might watch the test through a slit in a heavy wooden barricade.

Loebell raised his hand in a signal to Hanna. The latter pressed an ignition switch connected with the combustion chamber.

Tongues of yellow flame shot from the exhaust, changing to a bluish-white streak as Loebell readjusted the fuel valves. The staccato explosions of the exhaust became a dull drone. The motor tugged violently at its fastenings. Combustion lasted for five minutes, indicating that the completed rocket would easily have attained a five-mile altitude.

The completed rocket is expected to be fifteen feet high. When shot from the bottom of a thirty-foot shaft, its inventors hope to penetrate fifteen miles into the stratosphere. The shaft is necessary to give the rocket direction. When the rocket reaches the peak of its arc and starts falling, a delicate “trip” trigger will release a parachute to lower the rocket gently to earth.

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