Tiling, Reinhold (1890 - 11 Oct 1933)


  • German rocketry pioneer, Reinhold Tiling (1890-1933) was the son of a pastor from Bremen. He was training as an engineer, then served in the German Army during WW1. After this Tiling completed his training and qualified as an engineer. By 1925 he was on the technical staff of both Luftverkehrs GmbH and Sportflug GmbH at Osnabruck.
  • In 1928 he began to research into rocketry and started experimenting with gunpowder rockets. He applied his engineering skills to improve upon the rockets which were available and pressed his own mealed-powder to make higher density charges. He quickly developed reasonably reliable steel-cased gumpowder motors of up to 75mm (3") in diameter. There were three main phases of Tiling's flight tests, the first was the launching of motors with fins and nose cones, and these were 1.8m (6ft) long and 75mm (3") in diameter. They used 6.5 kg of propellant and carried payloads of about 5 kg. The launch weight was propably about 15 kg. Six of these were publicly launched during 1931, and one carried rocket-mail.
  • The next phase was the development of a recoverable rocket for mail delivery experiments. It used flip-out wings for a gliding descent and was 1.25m (4'2") long. Aerodynamic body and wings were made of aluminium, and they were used to perfect the system for the proposed operational version which was 2.5m (8'3") long, and twice the dimensions of the previous type. The smaller rocket was launched several times through 1932, and the larger one during summer of 1933.
  • While pressing the mealed-gunpowder charges for the larger design on October 11, 1933 Tiling was killed when the press exploded. Two assistants, Angelika Buddenbohmer and Friedrich "Fritz" Kuhr were also killed in the explosion at his workshops near Osnabruck.
  • A crater on the backside of the moon is named after Reinhold Tiling, located at coordinates 53 06' S 132 36' W.

Launch list:

Date Location  Description of flight
15 Apr 1931 Osnabruck  Fired at Dirlingen, near Osnabruck, was the first of four on this day.
The rocket exploded at a height of about 150 m (500 ft).
15 Apr 1931 Osnabruck  This second launch with the 75mm (3") diameter rocket reached an altitude of about 750m (2500').
15 Apr 1931 Osnabruck  This third 75mm rocket launch was Germany's first mail-rocket and carried 188 postcards. It was the most successful of those fired today, and reached a height of about 2000m (6,550 ft) with maximum velocity about 700 kph (440 mph). The postcards (188) were franked at Osnabruck PO.
15 Apr 1931 Osnabruck  Fourth launch of 75mm (3") rocket reached a height of about 450m (1500 ft).
Summer 1931 Wangerooge  First of two rockets fired on Wangerooge, an island of the East Frisians. The 75mm (3") rocket made a successful flight.
Summer 1931 Wangerooge  The second 75mm (3") rocket was estimated to have reached an altitude of 9750m (32,000 ft).
22 Aug 1932 Osnabruck  On this day Tiling performed the first (public) launches of the winged 1.25m (4'2") long mail-rocket. Several launches were made, but one exploded shortly after lift-off.
23 Oct 1932 Berlin-Tempelhof  At least one of the 1.25m (4'2") winged-rockets was launched at the Berlin aerodrome.
30 Oct 1932 Berlin-Tempelhof  Another launch day at Berlin Aerodrome.
13 Nov 1932 Berlin-Tempelhof  One or more of the 1.25m (4'2") long winged-rockets was fired at the Aerodrome. One reached a maximum height of 800m (2,625 ft), from where it glided to a soft landing.
Summer 1933 Hannover  Four of Tiling's new 2.5m (8'3") winged-rockets were launched near Hannover to demonstrate a potential operational mail-rocket system.
11 Oct 1933 Osnabruck  Reinhold Tiling and two assistants were killed compressing gunpowder charges for his rocket motors. The charge weight has been quoted by some sources as being 18 kg.

Ref.: #95, #502(SL35) - update: 8.08.12 Home