Rudolf Nebel

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Rudolf Nebel (March 21, 1894 - September 18 1978) was a spaceflight advocate active in Germany's amateur rocket group, the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR - "Spaceflight Society") in the 1930s and in rebuilding German rocketry following World War II.

Nebel was born in Weißenburg and trained as an engineer. He was an early member of the VfR and assisted with Hermann Oberth's failed publicity stunt on behalf of the group to launch a rocket at the premiere of Fritz Lang's film Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon).

Nebel acted very much as the group's spokesperson, organising the donation of materials from various local businesses, and negotiating with the Berlin municipal council for the use of a disused ammunition dump for the VfR's launchsite, or Raketenflugplatz. He later talked the Magdeburg council into funding the launch of a rocket with a human passenger on board, a scheme that never materialised.

He opposed the militarisation of rocketry, and rejected the opportunity to join the army's rocket team under Captain Walter Dornberger that was taken up by Wernher von Braun and Klaus Riedel. Von Braun later tried again during the war to have him join, but by now the SS regarded him as untrustworthy and had von Braun cease his attempts.

After World War II, Nebel was quick to encourage Germany to recommence rocket research. He participated in the first meetings of the International Astronautical Federation and held a public lecture on Cuxhaven in 1951 that set in motion a chain of events that led to the old military base being re-opened for rocket launching until the mid 1960s.

He died in Düsseldorf.

Nebel, whose name means fog in German is often and incorrectly named as the inventor of the Nebelwerfer ("Fog launcher") system of rocket artillery used by the Wehrmacht (German army) in World War II. This secret weapon was given its name as a disinformation strategy designed to lead spies into thinking that it was merely a device for creating a smokescreen.de:Rudolf Nebel

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