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1946 Spacecraft Concepts

of the Peenemunde Rocket Team

Images depict 1946 concepts for orbital spacecraft created by the Project Paperclip German rocket experts working for US Army Ordnance at Fort Bliss and White Sands under Wernher von Braun. The three-stage satellite rocket is based on the wartime Peenemunde orbital/intercontinental missile concept known as the A11 - an A9/10 with an even larger first stage booster. Both the rocket and the manned space station are ancestors of the designs portrayed in the famous 1952 Colliers series on space travel.

The space station appears to have generated power by using a large parabolic mirror to focus sunlight onto a pylon-mounted boiler where a working fluid would be heated to drive electric generators. The ring-shaped station would rotate on its axis to provide a measure of artificial gravity.

Image source: US Army Redstone Arsenal

von Braun with model of orbital transport shuttle with winged third stage, circa 1956. It still resembled the Hermes II cruise missile concept of 1947