Klaus Riedel

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Klaus Riedel (August 2, 1907 – August 4, 1944) was a German rocket pioneer. He was involved in many early liquid-fuelled rocket experiments, and eventually worked on the V-2 missile programme at Peenemünde Army Research Center.


Riedel was born in Wilhelmshaven, the son of a naval officer. His mother died when he was twelve years old, and his father two years later. The orphaned Riedel was raised by his grandmother in Bernstadt. He went on to study as a machinist at the Technical University of Berlin and to work at Löwe. While in Berlin, he attended a public lecture on rocketry by Rudolf Nebel on behalf of Germany's amateur rocket group, the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR - "Spaceflight Society") and joined the group straight away, becoming very active in its efforts to build a working rocket that resulted in the Mirak and Repulsor rockets, providing his family's farm as a testing ground.[1]

After the VfR disbanded in 1933, Riedel was invited by Wernher von Braun to join him in the army's rocket programme. He accepted, and worked from Peenemünde when the team moved there. Riedel's position was "Head of the Test Laboratory" and his work seems to have been mostly concerned with developing the mobile support equipment for the V-2.

He was killed in a car accident two days after his thirty-seventh birthday.

There is a memorial and small museum dedicated to him in Bernstadt and in 1970 a crater on the moon was named after him.


  1. ^ "Mirak". Encyclopedia Astronautica.