Conrad Haas: The Sixteenth Century Rocket Pioneer

In 1961, a professor on the College of Bucharest, made a shocking discovery within the archives of town of Sibiu, in Romania. It was a manuscript round 450 pages lengthy crammed with drawings and technical knowledge on artillery, ballistics and detailed descriptions of multistage rockets. What’s fascinating in regards to the discovery was that the paperwork had been created within the mid-Sixteenth century—4 hundred years earlier than the primary sensible multi-stage rocket took flight from the White Sands Proving Floor in New Mexico shortly after the tip of World Warfare 2. The creator of the doc was a exceptional Austrian army engineer named Conrad Haas.

An illustration from Haas’s manuscript exhibiting the instruments and methods of rocket making.

Conrad Haas was born in 1509 in Dornbach, now a part of Vienna, to a German household from Bavaria. On the age of twenty, Haas moved to Transylvania, which was then a part of the Austrian Empire, and started serving underneath the Imperial Habsburg military of King Ferdinand I. In 1551, Haas was invited by Stephen Báthory, the grand prince of Transylvania, to Hermannstadt (now Sibiu, Romania), the place he grew to become the commander of the artillery barracks and a weapons engineer. Whereas serving underneath the Prince, Haas started writing what’s now believed to be the earliest recognized European handbook of rocketry. This work, written in German, whose title interprets to “How You Should Make Fairly a Good Rocket That Can Journey (Propel) Itself into the Heights (Heavens),” handled pioneering weapons expertise together with the precept of multistage rockets, preliminary designs for delta-shaped fins and bell-shaped nozzles, in addition to totally different gasoline mixtures utilizing liquid gasoline.

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Haas’s illustrations of a multistage rocket.

Earlier than the invention of Haas’s work in 1961, the primary description of multistage rocket was attributed to Kazimierz Siemienowicz , a Polish artillery specialist, who printed it in his 1650 treatise Artis Magnae Artilleriae Pars Prima. Siemienowicz’s e-book is illustrated with 23 copperplate illustrations of extraordinarily top quality, for the time, exhibiting a painstaking consideration to element. Lots of the illustrations are suspiciously much like these of Haas, together with the multistage rocket, delta fins, and so forth., which makes one wonder if Siemienowicz was merely replicating Haas’s work and passing it as his personal, or had been the 2 males impressed by a good earlier work by an unknown ancestor.


Siemienowicz’s illustrations exhibiting multistage and bundled rockets.

Each Haas’s and Siemienowicz’s description and illustrations of the methods of rocket development are detailed. For instance, each describe a cylindrical thrust chamber crammed with a powder propellant, with a conical gap to progressively improve the combustion space and consequently the thrust. This design remains to be utilized in trendy rockets. The rockets additionally sport a really trendy nozzle with a bell-shaped divergence zone. Nevertheless, each designs lack any technique of stabilizing the rocket’s flight, both through the use of a stick or delta fins, indicating that the staged combustion design was meant to be a crude idea reasonably than an precise development handbook.

Though Conrad Haas designed weapons that had been imagined to kill, he was a humanist at coronary heart. Within the final paragraph of his chapter on the army use of rockets, he wrote:

However my recommendation is extra peace and no battle, the rifles are left underneath the roof, the bullet shouldn’t be fired, the powder shouldn’t be burned moist, so the prince stored his cash , the gunsmith his life; that is the recommendation so Conrad Haas does give.

# Alexandru Todericiu, Radu D. Rugescu and Istvan Lorincz, Related Evaluation of the Progressive Conrad Haas Manuscript from 1555, Historical past of Rocketry and Astronautics

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