Woman in the Moon

A scene from the film Woman in the Moon

Figure 1. A scene from Die Frau im Mond.

A scene from the film Woman in the Moon

Figure 2. After Oberth left the film studios, some of his helpers moved their testing equipment into an abandoned ammunitions dump near Berlin.Their "Raketenflugplatz" (rocket airfield) became famous as the site of the early experiments of several of the men who later developed the German war missiles. This picture shows (left to right) Kurt Heinisch, Wernher von Braun, and Rudoplh Nebel at the Raketenflugplatz.

Woman in the Moon is a German film (Die Frau im Mond) directed by Fritz Lang and released in 1929. The screenplay was by Lang and Theta von Harbou, adapted from the novel Die Frau im Mond by von Harbou.


Although it was never a box office hit, being a silent movie when the new "talkies" were all the rage, Woman in the Moon was technically accurate and visionary for its time. This was largely due to Hermann Oberth's contribution as technical consultant. Indeed Frau im Mond's Moon rocket was virtually identical to the one Oberth had already described and illustrated in his Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen. Oberth had also come to an agreement with Fritz Lang to build and fly a real rocket as a publicity stunt when the film opened. However, although Oberth and a young colleague by the name of Wernher von Braun got as far as testing their rocket engine in the lab, it was never destined to fly.


Demonstration rocket developed by Oberth for Frau im Mond.
Demonstration rocket developed by Oberth for Frau im Mond.


One of the details of Frau im Mond would have a particular lasting influence. As the Moon rocket nears the moment of launch, a loudspeaker announces: "Five ... four ... three ... two ... one ... zero ... FIRE!" Lang had invented the countdown – if only for dramatic effect – now so familiar in mission controls around the world.


Photography by Kurt Courant and Otto Kanturek; music by Willy Schmidt-Gentner. With Gerda Maurus, Willy Fritsch, Gustav von Wangenheim, Klaus Pohl, Fritz Rasp, Gustl Stark-Gstettenbauer. 97 minutes. Black and white.