Translations of this material:
- into Russian: Макс Валье. Translation complete.
Submitted for translation by greenvert 03.11.2010
Published 6 years, 6 months ago.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Valier in a rocket car, circa April 1930.
Valier in his rocket car Valier RAK 6, about 1929/1930
Max Valier (February 9, 1895 - May 17, 1930) was an Austrian rocketry pioneer. He helped found the German Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR - "Spaceflight Society") that would bring together many of the minds that would later make spaceflight a reality in the twentieth century.
Valier was born in Bozen (Bolzano), Tyrol (now in the province of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy) and in 1913 enrolled to study Physics at the University of Innsbruck. He also trained as a machinist at a nearby factory. His studies were interrupted by the First World War, during which he served in the Austro-Hungarian army's air corps as an aerial observer.
After the war, Valier did not return to his studies, but became a freelance science writer. In 1923, he read Hermann Oberth's landmark book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space) and was inspired to write a similar work to explain Oberth's ideas in terms that could be understood by lay persons. With Oberth's assistance, he published Der Vorstoß in den Weltenraum (The Advance into Space) the following year. It was an outstanding success, selling six editions before 1930. He followed this with numerous articles on the subject of space travel, with titles like "Berlin to New York in One Hour" and "A Daring Trip to Mars".
In 1928 and 1929 he worked with Fritz von Opel on a number of rocket-powered cars and aircraft. For von Opel, these were publicity stunts for the Opel company, and for Valier, a way of further raising interest in rocketry amongst the general population. It was Valier who enlisted the assistance of Friedrich Sander in these endeavours as the supplier of solid-fuel rocket motors. By the late 1920s, the VfR was focussing its efforts on liquid-fuelled rockets. Their first successful test firing with liquid fuel (five minutes) occurred in the Heylandt plant on January 25, 1930. On April 19, 1930, Valier performed the first test drive of a rocket car with liquid propulsion, the Valier-Heylandt Rak 7.
Oberth was critical of Valier's rocket-car concept. Because the vehicle speed is far lower than the supersonic rocket exhaust, most of the kinetic energy is transferred to the exhaust gases, rather than the car. Rocket engines are highly efficient, but this is why they are not suitable for propelling automobiles.
Valier was killed less than a month later when an alcohol-fuelled rocket exploded on his test bench in Berlin. Shrapnel from the engine casing severed his aorta, and he perished almost instantly. His protégé Arthur Rudolph went on to develop an improved and safer version of Valier's engine.
Max Valier is still remembered in the province of Bolzano-Bozen as one of the most famous inventors and scientists of this province, and a number of institutions bear his name:
The South-Tyrolean amateur-astronomers "Max Valier"
The public observatory "Max Valier" in Gummer (BZ)
The professional school Gewerbeoberschule "Max Valier"
^ Hermann Oberth, "Ways to Spaceflight", 1929
^ AA Max Valier english at www.maxvalier.org
^ Sternwarte Max Valier at www.sternwarte.it
^ Gewerbeoberschule - Max Valier - und Lehranstalt für Industrie und Handwerk - Johann Kravogl - Startseite at www.gobbz.it
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