Conrad Haas

Born approx. 1509 in Dornbach  (now part of Vienna)

Died  1579 in Hermannstadt, Transylvania



In 1963 the Romanian engineer Doru Todericiu investigated a manuscript of about 450 pages in the national archive of Sibiu, Romania (former Hermannstadt). The manuscript had been known as a work on different problems of artillery and ballistics, but Todericiu analyzed it with regard to its scientific and technological content. He found out, that the author of the third part of the manuscript,  a man named Conrad Haas, described remarkable ideas about rocketry.

Not very many details about the life of Conrad Haas are known. He was born in Dornbach, near Vienna. He served as an artillery guard and commissioned officer of the Imperial court of Vienna. In this function he probably came in 1551 with Imperial troops  to Transylvania* and became chief of the artillery camp of the arsenal of Hermannstadt.

Between 1529 and 1569 he wrote the above mentioned manuscript which seems to be among other things the very first description of the principle of a multi stage rocket. He describes and depicts rockets with two and three stages, talks about bundling of rockets, stabilizing fins and using liquid fuel.

In one of the drawing he shows a cylindrical housing at the top of a rocket, which is probably the first (naive) drawing of a space station.

According to Todericiu, Haas has even made experiments with his solid-fuel stage rockets.

Among all the geometrical and ballistic calculations, descriptions of test and measurement techniques, Conrad Haas warns against the use for purposes of war and wants his knowledge to be used for peaceful applications.

*  As a consequence of a treaty in 1506  between the monarchs of Austria and Hungary, “Siebenbürgen” (Transylvanya) became 1526  formerly  a territory of the Hapsburgs (and later part of the Austrian Empire). In this context troops  were sent in 1551 from Vienna to Hermannstadt.