V-2 Turbo Pump

Whole Object Name

V-2 Turbo Pump

Collection

Rockets

Description

This turbo pump was designed for use on a V-2 rocket. The V-2 was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. It was 14 metres high and carried an explosive warhead. It was developed in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Slave labourers pulled from concentration camps were used to build the missiles. As many as 20,000 people are believed to have died while constructing them. This turbo pump shows signs of damage, which was caused by RAF bombing of the German manufacturing site.

The V-2 was a liquid fuel rocket. The purpose of the turbo pump was to draw the propellants – liquid oxygen and a mixture of alcohol and water – from the missile’s tanks and inject them into the combustion chamber. With an output of 5,000 revolutions a minute, the pumps could deliver 8.75 tons of fuel from the tanks to the combustion chamber in under 7 minutes. Hot gases created by burning the propellants were ejected at high speed out of the bottom of the rocket, propelling it up into the air.

During a vertical test launch on 20 June 1944, the V-2 rocket became the first human-made object to reach space. When the war ended, the Americans, Soviets, and British raced to obtain the V-2 technology and the German scientists behind it. Wernher von Braun, the man behind the V-2, surrendered to the Americans and went on to become heavily involved in their space programme. The British and Soviets used what technology they managed to get hold of as the foundation for their own rocket development.

Object number

2010-6
  • image V-2 Turbo Pump - on loan from the Royal Air Force Museum
  • image A V-2 launch from 1943 - Credit: German Federal Archives
  • image V-2 cross-section showing some of the key component parts - Credit: Eberhard Marx
  • image U.S. Army V-2 cutaway drawing showing engine, fuel cells, guidance units and warhead - Credit: US Air Force
  • image V-2 rocket - Credit: Naval Research Laboratory
  • image V-2 Turbo Pump - on loan from the Royal Air Force Museum
  • image A V-2 launch from 1943 - Credit: German Federal Archives
  • image V-2 cross-section showing some of the key component parts - Credit: Eberhard Marx
  • image U.S. Army V-2 cutaway drawing showing engine, fuel cells, guidance units and warhead - Credit: US Air Force
  • image V-2 rocket - Credit: Naval Research Laboratory

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