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Lot #170
Wernher von Braun

Von Braun's calculations for 'Man Will Conquer Space Soon!'

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Estimate: $3000+
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Von Braun's calculations for 'Man Will Conquer Space Soon!'

Fantastic unsigned handwritten notes in pencil, five pages, 8 x 10.5, no date but circa 1952. Von Braun's technical notes used to prepare his famous inaugural article in the Collier's 'Man Will Conquer Space Soon!' series, entitled 'Crossing the Last Frontier,' which appeared in the March 22, 1952 issue of the magazine. Headed, "Principal data of Satellite Rocket Ship," these notes feature detailed tables for "First stage," "Second stage," "Third stage (maneuver of ascent)," "Third stage (maneuver of adaptation)," "Third stage (return maneuver)," "Third stage (dimensions)," and "Main data total ship." The tables list various dimensions, weights, propellant data, burn times, distances, altitudes, and other technical details. Much of the data outlined here is included in Dr. von Braun's 'Crossing the Last Frontier' article, with many of these figures appearing on page 28. In fine condition.

Dr. Wernher von Braun’s premiere article in the ‘Man Will Conquer Space Soon!’ series, ‘Crossing the Last Frontier,’ appeared in the March 22, 1952 issue of Collier’s. In the article, von Braun envisions an ambitious ten-year project to establish a manned space station circling 1,075 miles above Earth. Von Braun asserts that the first step in enacting this vision is the development of ‘a huge rocket capable of carrying a crew and some 30 or 40 tons of cargo into the ‘two-hour’ orbit’—at an altitude of 1,075 miles, the space station would make a complete revolution about Earth every two hours. Von Braun proposes a three-stage rocket, in which the first and second stage boosters would be jettisoned after use in order to save weight.

The first stage, described as having 51 rocket motors, would push with a combined thrust of 14,000 tons and consume a whopping 5,250 tons of propellants in just 84 seconds at launch. The second stage, with 34 motors, would then burn 770 tons of propellants in just over two minutes. After jettisoning both, the third and final stage—the nose section—carrying crew, equipment, and payload, would shoot into Earth orbit like a bullet at a top speed of 18,468 miles per hour, before relaxing to a 15,800 MPH pace. A fantastic set of von Braun’s handwritten notes detailing the technical specifics of this plan.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #529 - Ended June 13, 2018

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