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The A-9/A-10 rocket represented one of the earliest detailed studies of a multistage rocket, capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

According to von Braun's own writings, the rocket of this class was envisioned as early as 1936, when yet-to-be built propulsion testing stand in Peenemunde was designed to accommodate engines with the thrust up to 200 tons. It would be eight times more than needed for the A-4, but roughly enough for a transatlantic rocket.

Technical description

The A-9/A-10 concept emerged far ahead of its time, but it was fueled by a dream of the Nazi government in Germany to bomb America, which also gave it a name -- "Projektil Amerika." To reach New York, the A-10 upper stage, would have to follow a string of radio-beacons deployed on submarines spread across the Atlantic. For its final guidance, the rocket could use a transmitter installed by Nazi agents in a window of a high-rise hotel in the heart of Manhattan. Another concept called for a manned version of the A-9 stage piloted by a semi-kamikaze pilot.

The manned version of the missile, would be equipped with a pressurized cockpit, featuring life-support systems, cartographic radar, and, apparently, an ejection seat, which would allow a pilot to bail out shortly before impacting the target.

The original concept of the A-10 rocket envisioned a test version with a propulsion system made of six combustion chambers, comparable to those on the A-4 rocket, but feeding a single nozzle. It could carry an A-4b-type rocket as its second stage, before the A-9 was ready. Like the A-4, the initial A-10 would burn mix of liquid oxygen with alcohol. Peroxide-driven pumps would be used to feed combustion chambers. A follow-on version, intended for actual bombing missions, was expected to have a single engine, burning a mix of nitric acid and diesel oil.


If given time for implementation of the project and combined with German nuclear ambitions, the A-9/A-10 could potentially turn into a weapon of mass destruction in the hands of a regime, which had no hesitation of using it. However the complexity of the rocket and immediate prospect of loosing the war, forced Peenemunde leadership to abandon the far-fetched idea around 1943, so the development center could concentrate on the all-but-flight-ready A-4.

A-9 / A-10 technical specifications: (169)

Total length (A-9 / A-10):
25.8 meters
Total launch weight (A-9 / A-10): Early version: 99,960 kilograms; Final version: 85,320 kilograms
Maximum range: Approx. 5,000 kilometers
Maximum speed of the upper stage: 2.8 kilometers per second
Maximum altitude of the upper stage: 160 kilometers
Stage I: (A-10 rocket)
Maximum diameter: 4.3 meters
Stabilizer maximum span: 9 meters
Maximum altitude: 24 kilometers
Maximum speed: 1.2 km per second
Engine thrust: Early version: 6 x 27.5 tons; Final version: 1 x 200 tons
Propellant mass 61,490 kilograms
Stage II: (A-9 rocket)
Length: 14 meters
Maximum diameter: 1.7 meters
Stabilizer span: 3.5 meters
Engine thrust: 25 tons
Fuel Compound of vinylic ethers
Oxidizer Nitric acid
Warhead weight 1,000 kilograms of Amatol 60/40



To purchase full-length, high-resolution version of this animation or to order custom-built 3D renderings contact Anatoly Zak

Separation between A-9 and A-10 rockets. Click to play: QuickTime video 320 x 240 pixels / 332K / 4 seconds Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak

Major components of the A-9 / A-10 rocket. Click to enlarge: 357 x 500 pixels / 32K Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak

A-9/A-10 configuration. Click to enlarge: Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak

Left to right: A-4b, A-9 and A-10 rockets. Click to enlarge: 400 x 317 pixels / 16K Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak