— rabatjoie


The model currently being fired was the A3, christenend not with champagne, but with flasks of liquid oxygen by the playful technicians. Emphasis had begun to shift from propulsion to guidance. Telemetry on the flight tests was still primitive. Thermometers and barometers were sealed in a watertight compartment with a movie camera. During flights the camera photographed the needles swinging on the gauges. After the flight the film was recovered, and the data played back. Engineers sat around looking at movies of dials. Meantime Heinkels were dropping iron models of the Rocket from 20,000 feet. The fall was photographed by Askania cinetheodolite rigs on the ground. In the daily rushes you would watch the frames at around 3000 feet, where the model broke through the speed of sound. There has been this strange connection between the German mind and the rapid flashing of successive stills to counterfeit movement, for at least two centuries – since Leibniz, in the process of inventing calculus, used the same approach to break up the trajectories of cannonballs through the air. And now Pökler was about to be given proof that these techniques had been extended past images on film, to human lives.

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