DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A4 rocket on a launchpad at Peenemunde, Usedom Island, Germany. This rocket, developed by Wernher von Braun, was, in October 1942, the first manmade object to enter space. It was later named the V-2 and used as an offensive weapon by Nazi Germany. Gyroscopes controlled fins to maintain stable and directed flight. Its ethyl alcohol and liquid oxygen fuel propelled it to a speed of 1300 metres per second and a height of 97 kilometres. The rocket would only burn for around 60 seconds, with the A4 acting as a supersonic projectile for the rest of the flight.
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