This is an unflown inertial guidance platform for the German V-2, the world's first ballistic missile, developed during World War II. V-2 rockets, with a range of hundreds of miles, were sent into ballistic trajectories by means of a liquid fueled rocket motor. The German military launched many of them against Britain and the Low Countries in the last phase of the war.
During the development of the V-2, a number of systems were explored to guide the rocket during the powered portion of its flight. This device is part of an inertial system, which used gyroscopes to sense the acceleration of the rocket and send a signal to cut off its thrust at a predetermined point. It was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution from NASA in 1986.
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration