Hermann Oberth

Hermann Oberth
Birthdate
1894
Death date
1989

Biography

Hermann Oberth was born in 1894 in Romania, and is one of the fathers of rocketry and astronautics, along with Tsiolkovsky and Goddard.

Oberth grew up in Romania, but due to scarlet fever at a young age, was sent to Italy for recovery. He read Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" and was inspired by the idea of space travel, concluding that liquid-fueled rockets could be developed. In 1912 he moved to Germany and enrolled in the University of Munich to study medicine. During WWI he was placed with a medical unit, and after the war turned his studies to physics. He taught himself and tested theories on gravitational pull and liquid rocket fuel. He came to the conclusion that multistage rockets were possible and critical for space travel.

He published a draft of The Rocket into Planetary Space in 1929, which explained how rockets could escape Earth's gravitational pull, gaining him widespread recognition. He received a patent for his rocket design and his first rocket was launched in 1931 near Berlin. Oberth mentored a young Wernher von Braun, and together they conducted massive research into rocketry design for Germany through WWII and then for the United States afterwards. After retirement, Oberth visited the U.S. several times to see von Braun's work, such as the Saturn V launch. Hermann Oberth died in Nuremburg in 1989.

Further Reading

https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/rocketry/home/hermann-oberth.html