Hermann Oberth

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Oberth, Hermann


Born June 25, 1894, in Hermannstadt, Transylvania (now Sibiu, Rumania). One of the pioneers of rocketry.

Oberth studied at the universities of Munich (1913–14 and 1919–20), Cluj (1919), Göttingen (1920–21), and Heidelberg (1921–23). From 1925 to 1938 he was a professor at Roth College in Medias (Rumania). From 1938 to 1940 he conducted experimental work in rocketry in Vienna, and in 1940–41, in Dresden (he became a professor at the Technical University of Dresden in 1940). From 1941 to 1943 he was a consulting engineer for the German military research center at Peenemünde. From 1943 to 1945 he was a consulting engineer for the development of solid-propellant rockets at Westfälisch-Anhaltische Sprengstoff A.G. Until 1950 he was engaged in private research. From 1950 to 1953 he worked on rockets for the Italian Navy. From 1955 to 1958, he and other German scientists took part in implementing the rocket program of the USA at the Redstone Arsenal at Huntsville, Ala. He subsequently returned to the Federal Republic of Germany.

Oberth worked on a number of problems concerning the flight of rockets and their use in studying the atmosphere; he also contributed to the development of rocket motors. He was one of the founders of the German Society for Rocketry and Space Flight. In 1951 the society established an Oberth medal, to be awarded for fundamental research and outstanding achievements in rocketry and space flight. In 1963 the society was named in honor of Oberth.


Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen. Berlin-Munich, 1923.
Menschen im Weltraum. Düsseldorf, 1954.
In Russian translation:
Puti osushchestvleniia kosmicheskikh poletov. Moscow, 1948.
“Moi raboty po astronavtike.” In Iz istorii astronavtiki i raketnoi tekhniki. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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