Wernher von Braun

Space pioneer Wernher von Braun experimented with rockets as a teenager and wrote a paper on space travel. He studied physics at the TU Berlin and the ETH Zurich from 1930. As early as 1929, he worked together with Hermann Oberth, who influenced him significantly, as did the astronomer and astrophysicist Herman Potočnik. From 1937 to 1945, von Braun researched and worked as technical director of the Peenemünde Army Experimental Station.

After the end of the war, von Braun was among the rocket developers taken over by the United States in 1945 as part of “Operation Overcast.” He first worked as a technical advisor to the missile program and, from 1950 to 1959, developed intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Huntsville as head of Redstone Development. In 1959, von Braun moved to NASA, where the decision to build a large launch vehicle, later to become the Saturn V, had been made shortly before. At NASA, von Braun had a major influence on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. His greatest success was the first manned moon landing in 1969.

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