With a thrust of 25 tons, the V-2 engine was the first large liquid-fuel rocket engine in the world and powered the world’s first ballistic missile, the German V-2 of World War II. The combustion chamber was the engine’s heart. Here, its liquid oxygen and water alcohol propellants entered through 18 injectors on the top and burned at about 2,700 ºC (4,900 ºF).
After the war, both the United States and the Soviet Union copied the V-2 engine, and it greatly influenced the development of large liquid-fuel rocket engines around the world. The U.S. Army probably captured this artifact in central Germany in spring 1945. The Smithsonian later obtained it from the U.S. Air Force.
Transferred from the U.S. Air Force