Alfred Maul (1870 - 1942) was a German engineer who could be thought of as the father of aerial reconnaissance. Maul, who owned a machine works, experimented from 1900 with small solid-propellant sounding rockets.
Although people had long been experimenting with rockets, hardly anyone had used them in a practical application. It was Alfred Maul, an industrialist and engineer from the Kingdom of Saxony, that thought of, and implemented, the idea of taking photographs of the land with a rocket-attached camera. He was inspired by Ludwig Rahrmann, who in 1891 patented a means of attaching a camera to a large calibre artillery projectile or rocket. Previously, aerial photographs had been taken from balloons and kites, and in 1896 or 1897 by Alfred Nobel's rocket, from a small rocket at 100 metres altitude. In 1903 Julius Neubronner's pigeons were used to take aerial photos but found to be too unreliable.
Camera rocket development
The camera would be launched into the air with a black powder rocket. When the rocket had reached an altitude of about 600 to 800 metres a few seconds later, its top would spring open and the camera would descend on a parachute. A timer would trigger the taking of the photograph.
In 1904 Maul managed to image the local landscape from 600 metre altitude.
From the beginning a military use for this technique was in mind. So, on 22 August 1906 a secret demonstration occurred before military observers at the Glauschnitz firing range.
Aeroplanes take over
Maul's rockets achieved no military significance because conventional aeroplanes during World War I succeeded in the role of aerial reconnaissance. The Deutsches Museum in Munich displays a Maul-built rocket.
- Editors of German Wikipedia
- "Cameras in Model Rockets: A Short History". 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Nicholas M. Short, Sr. "History of Remote Sensing: In the Beginning; Launch Vehicles". Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Nicholas M. Short, Sr. "Remote Sensing Tutorial Overview". Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13. (photographs by Alfred Nobel and the Bavarian pigeon fleet)
- "The History of Aerial Photography". Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Mark Wade. "Maul Camera Rocket". Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-13. (summary and photo)
- David Darling. "Maul, Alfred (1864-1941)". Retrieved 2009-03-13.