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Wernher von Braun (engl)
Wernher von Braun stands at his desk in the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama in May 1964, with models of rockets developed and in progress.
1 Early life
2 German career
2.1 The Prussian rocketeer
2.2 Arrest by the Nazi regime
3 Surrender to the Americans
4 American career
4.1 U.S. Army career
4.2 Popular concepts for a human presence in space
4.3 NASA career
4.4 Career after NASA
6 Posthumous recognition
7 Cultural references
7.1 On film and television
7.2 In print media
7.3 In novels
7.4 In music
7.5 In computer games
9 See also
11 External links
Dr. Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 - June 16, 1977) was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Germany and the United States. The German scientist, who led Germany's rocket development program (V-2) before and during World War II, entered the United States at the end of the war through the then-secret Operation Paperclip. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen and worked on the American ICBM program before joining NASA, where he served as director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the United States to the Moon. He is generally regarded as the father of the United States space program. Wernher von Braun received the National Medal of Science in 1975. He was tall, articulate and spoke English with a distinctive German accent. He was buried at the Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia.
Wernher von Braun was born in Wirsitz, Province of Posen in the German Kingdom of Prussia. He was born second of three sons with an impressive pedigree. His father, the conservative politician Magnus Freiherr von Braun (1877-1972), served as a Minister of Agriculture in the Federal Cabinet during the Weimar Republic. His mother, Emmy von Quistorp (3.11.1886-1959) through both her parents could trace ancestry to medieval European royalty, including King Philip III of France, Robert III of Scotland and King Edward III of England through his father, and King Abel of Denmark through his mother, through the son of Nikolaus von Tecklenburg by Catharina Waterfoer, by whom he descended by seven lines of King Sancho I of Portugal and his wife Dulce Berenguer. He also had a younger brother, also named Magnus Freiherr von Braun, born in 1919. Upon Wernher von Braun's Lutheran confirmation, his mother gave him a telescope, and he discovered a passion for astronomy and the realm of outer space. When, as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, Wirsitz became part of Poland in 1920, his family, like many other German families, moved. They settled in Berlin, where at first von Braun did not do well in physics and mathematics until he acquired a copy of the book Die Rakete zu den Planetenr?umen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space) by rocket pioneer Hermann Oberth. From then on, he applied himself at school in order to understand physics and mathematics. During this period, the 12-year-old von Braun, inspired by speed records established by Max Valier and Fritz von Opel, caused a major disruption by firing off a toy wagon to which he had attached a number of fireworks. The youngster was taken into custody by the local police until his father came to collect him.
In 1930, von Braun attended the Technical University of Berlin, where he joined the Verein f?r Raumschiffahrt (VfR, the "Spaceflight Society") and assisted Hermann Oberth in liquid-fueled rocket motor tests. After receiving his degree, he commenced postgraduate studies at the Technical University of Berlin, earning a doctorate in physics (aerospace engineering) on July 27, 1934.
The idea of space travel had always fascinated von Braun, and even as a boy he had experimented with a rocket-propelled wagon down a crowded street in Berlin, Germany, earning himself a stern lecture from police. Von Braun continued to pursue his interest in rocketry, however, and at the age of twenty was appointed chief of the German army's rocket corps. Although he worked mainly with military rockets for many years, space travel remained his primary goal.
The Prussian rocketeer
Von Braun was working on his doctorate when an artillery captain, Walter Dornberger, arranged an Ordnance Department research grant for him, and von Braun then worked next to Dornberger's existing solid-fuel rocket test site at Kummersdorf. He received his doctorate two years later and by the end of 1934, his group had successfully launched two rockets that rose to heights of 2.2 and 3.5 kilometers.
At the time, Germany was highly interested in American physicist Robert H. Goddard's research. Before 1939, German scientists occasionally contacted Goddard directly with technical questions. After that, things got rather tense. Wernher von Braun used Goddard's plans from various journals and incorporated them into the building of the Aggregat 4 (A-4) series of rockets - better known as the V-2. In 1963, von Braun reflected on the history of rocketry, and said of Goddard's work: "His rockets ... may have been rather crude by present-day standards, but they blazed the trail and incorporated many features used in our most modern rockets and space vehicles" . Goddard confirmed his work was used by von Braun when, after the war ended, Goddard inspected captured German V-2s, and recognized many components which he had invented.
There were no German rocket societies after the collapse of the VfR, and civilian rocket tests were forbidden by the new Nazi regime. Only military development was allowed and to this end, a larger facility was erected at the village of Peenem?nde in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea. This location was chosen partly on the recommendation of von Braun's mother, who recalled her father's duck-hunting expeditions there. Dornberger became the military commander at Peenem?nde, with von Braun as technical director. In collaboration with the Luftwaffe, the Peenem?nde group developed liquid-fuel rocket engines for aircraft and jet-assisted takeoffs. They also developed the long-range A-4 ballistic missile and the supersonic Wasserfall anti-aircraft missile.
In November 1937 (other sources: December 1 1932), von Braun joined the National Socialist German Workers Party. An Office of Military Government, United States document dated April 23 1947 states that von Braun joined the Waffen-SS (Schutzstaffel) horseback riding school in 1933, then the National Socialist Party on May 1 1937 and became an officer in the Waffen-SS from May 1940 to the end of the war.
Amongst his comments about his NSDAP membership vonBraun has said:
I was officially demanded to join the