Wernher von Braun paper
Wernher von Braun was born in Wirsitz, Germany, on March 23, 1912. His father was Minister of Agriculture in the Weimar Republic of the early 1930's. In 1920, his family moved to Berlin when their hometown became part of Poland after World War I. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 1932 from the Berlin Institute of Technology. He received a Ph. D. in Physics two years later from the University of Berlin. Von Braun did not do well in school until he was thirteen, when he read The Rocket into Interplanetary Space by Hermann Oberth. The next year his mother gave him his first telescope and he soon decided to devote his life to rocketry and the exploration of space. In September 1929, seventeen-year old von Braun joined the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VFR) assisting his mentor Oberth in tests of liquid-fuelled rocket engines. By the 1930's, the German government became highly interested in the military development of rockets, and in pursuit of his dream to build rockets capable of taking man into space, he began working for the army in 1932. Soon the Nazi government built a large facility for secret rocket development on the Baltic Sea at Peenemunde, a location he recommended. In 1936, He was named technical director at Peenemunde. At first he helped the German Air Force develop liquid-fuel rocket engines for aircraft and jet-assisted takeoffs. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he began to develop a long-range ballistic missile, the A-4 (later renamed the V-2 for "Retaliation/Vengeance Weapon 2"). As he freely admitted after the war, much of the V-2 design was directly borrowed from the writings of the American rocket scientist Robert Goddard. On October 3, 1942, an experimental A-4 became the first manmade object to reach "technical" outer space, rocketing to an altitude of 50 miles. A liquid propellant missile 46 feet in length, and weighing 27,000 pounds, the V-2 could exceed 3,500 miles per hour, and...
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