The idea of accelerated “rocket” mail may seem a little strange, but it is real, and several attempts have been made to implement it, while in the USA it has almost reached the stage of official use.
After man invented the bow and arrow weapon, the idea for a period of time hatched in his mind of using the arrow as a means of delivering messages over close distances, such as besieged forts or high castles.
In the same way, after the invention of rockets, some specialists and officials of the postal services of some European countries thought about using them to transport urgent mail.
The idea was first proposed by the Austro-Hungarian physicist Hermann Oberth, one of the founding fathers of rocket science, who said in a lecture to the German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics in June 1928: “A rocket seems to be capable of transporting urgent mail over long distances in a very short time. “The rocket only needed to parachute down: some other transport would have delivered the device exactly to its destination. Later, I worked on equipping such a rocket with a powerful booster capable of overcoming overseas ranges.”
As for the Austrian scientist Franz Gift, in 1928 he spoke about the idea of rocket mail, indicating that the speed of delivery of correspondence should be one hour to anywhere in the world.
Later, experiments began in Europe to send mail messages with rockets over short distances. On February 2, 1931, the Austrian scientist Friedrich Schmidl launched a solid-propellant rocket carrying 102 envelopes over a mountain between the cities of Shekel and St. Radegund, at a distance of about 1.9 miles and successfully landed with a parachute, which prompted Schmidl to continue experiments in which several rockets were fired at nearby villages.
Schmiedel’s experiments inspired another Austrian inventor, Gerhard Zucker, to develop a five-meter solid-propellant booster.
In April 1933, an experiment was conducted in Germany in front of a huge crowd of curious people, during which a 15-meter rocket was launched, then it fell to the ground and exploded.
The scientist Zucker did not give up and continued to work on the project, and also went to Germany, where in 1934 he showed Nazi officials his drawings and plans for rocket mail, but the Nazis ignored this idea, because at that time they needed rockets for other purposes!
Zucker left Germany for the UK and presented the idea to the Royal Mail, and there he carried out a test launch of a rocket in July 1934 on one of the British Isles, but the experiment failed due to a rocket explosion.
The British eventually characterized Zucker as a fraud and expelled him from the country, and he himself was arrested in Germany and accused of being a British spy, but he miraculously managed to escape.
With the outbreak of World War II, Zucker worked as a test pilot in the Nazi Air Force, and in 1944 he was wounded in a plane crash and demobilized, and after the war he worked in a furniture store!
The idea to use a rocket to send urgent mail appeared in the United States after the end of World War II.
The idea there belongs to US Postmaster General Arthur Summersfield, where the first missile, a model decommissioned by the US Army, has already been tested in an attempt to prolong its life in peaceful messaging work.
On June 8, 1959, three thousand mail samples, including a letter from the President of the United States, were loaded onto a Regulus guided missile inside the American submarine Barbero.
The missile was launched from a submarine from the Atlantic Ocean and, as a result of the tests, the mail was delivered safely to the naval base in Florida.
On this occasion, a postage stamp and a special postcard were issued in the United States, but the idea did not enter into practice, although Secretary of State Summersfield promised to organize the sending of rocket mail to Australia, India and Europe.
The reason is the prohibitive cost of such an unimaginable project, as well as the advent of express air mail.