Information about the V-2 Rocket
"Vergeltungswaffe 2" or V-2 rocket was the world's first large-scale rocket and was developed by
Germany in WWII as a weapon. It had the capability of delivering a 2,000 pound
warhead at supersonic speeds to target areas 150 miles away. The Germans fired
about 3,600 V-2s at targets in England and on the continent during WWII.
The architect of the rocket was Dr. Wernher von Braun who based
much of his design on the pioneering work done by Dr. Robert Goddard
during the 1930s near Roswell, N.M.
In late 1945, 300 railroad freight cars of V-2 components captured
in Europe arrived at White Sands. From 1946 to 1952, 67 V-2 rockets
were fired here. The use of these rockets launched the United States
into the Space Age.
The V-2 provided the U.S. with valuable experience in the
assembly, pre flight testing, handling, fueling, launching and
tracking of large missiles. The scientific experiments conducted
aboard the V-2 gave us new information about the upper atmosphere,
gave us our first photographic look back at the earth from space,
gave us the first large two-stage rocket and carried the first
biological experiments into space.
Also, an errant,
highly modified V-2, referred to as Hermes II, crashed just outside Juarez, Mexico on May 29,
1947. No one was injured but the incident prompted White Sands to
develop a safety program, which still has a perfect record with the
The V-2 led to the Redstone and Jupiter missiles, which led to the
Saturn series and the capability to send men to the moon.
- Length: 46 feet
- Diameter: 5 feet 5 inches
- Fin Span: 11 feet 8 inches
- Weight: 28,400 pounds
- Thrust: 52,000 pounds
- Propellant: Alcohol and Oxygen
- First Fired at White Sands: 1946