Sputnik Declassified
Build a Rocket
Launch interactive

Build a Rocket

Rockets built prior to World War II had limited military value. They were unstable and could only travel short distances, and it was virtually impossible to predict where they would land. But all this began to change with the German V-2. Engineers essentially built the machine from scratch, redesigning traditional rocket parts to construct something bigger and better than had ever been seen before. The V-2's powerful engine and aerodynamic design would help set the stage for space travel, while gyroscopes and an innovative radio control system developed for the rocket near the end of the war would give rise to more stable and accurate high-speed flight. In this feature, learn more about the V-2 rocket by assembling your own. Then see and hear the rocket lift off.—Rima Chaddha

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© | Created October 2007