Ganswindt, Hermann (1856–1934)

Hermann Ganswindt

Hermann Ganswindt was a German law student and amateur inventor, born in Voigtshof, East Prussia, who, along with Nikolai Kibalchich and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, was one of the first to realize the potential of the rocket for space travel.


Ganswindt came up with a design for an interplanetary spacecraft as early as 1881 that used the reaction principle. This was more than a decade before Tsiolkovsky's theories were published. In Ganswindt's scheme, steel cartridges charged with dynamite would be placed in a reaction chamber. As a cartridge exploded, half of it would be ejected while the other half struck the top of the chamber to provide the reaction force. Suspended below the chamber on springs was the inhabited part of the ship. Ganswindt even provided his crew with artificial gravity by allowing the spaceship to spin.