Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun
April 25, 2016Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German, later an American, aerospace engineer and space architect credited with inventing the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germanyand the Saturn V for the United States. He was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany, where he was a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. Following World War II, he was moved to the United States, along with about 1,500 other scientists, technicians, and engineers, as part of Operation Paperclip, where he developed the rockets that launched United States first space satellite and first series of moon missions.
In his twenties and early thirties, von Braun worked in Germany’s rocket development program, where he helped design and develop the V-2 rocket at Peenemünde during World War II. Following the war, von Braun worked for the United States Army on an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) program before his group was assimilated into NASA. Under NASA, he served as director of the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center and as the chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle, the superbooster that propelled the Apollo spacecraft to the Moon. According to a NASA source, he is, “without doubt, the greatest rocket scientist in history”, as well as the “Father of Rocket Science“. In 1975, he received the National Medal of Science. He continued insisting on the human mission to Mars throughout his life.
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