Biographies

Wernher von Braun, a German in the United States

Wernher von Braun, a German in the United States

Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun (Germany, 1912 - United States 1977), was an important German aerospace engineer who became a United States national in 1955.

His professional career was decisive for space travel and the arrival of man on the moon. Von Braun was responsible for the design of the V-22 rocket, as well as the Saturn V rocket, used in NASA's Apollo and Skylab programs.

During his German era, in 1930 von Braun joined the German Space Travel Society. There he collaborated closely with Hermann Oberth, working on his experiments with liquid fuel rockets.

Later, in 1932, the German army appointed von Braun as head of a research center, where he experimented with rockets to develop the A-4 ballistic missile, which in 1944 would be used to bomb Britain.

At the end of World War II, von Braun became an American and began to work for the United States Army.

As technical director of the ballistic weapons program in the center of Arenas Blancas (New Mexico), he created the Jupiter, a four-stage rocket that reached 5,300 kilometers in 1956. In January 1958 von Braun was able to put into Explorer the Explorer I, the first satellite of the United States.

After the creation of NASA, von Braun was appointed as director of the Space Flight Center of Huntsville (Alabama). There he developed the Saturn series rockets and was part of the planning and implementation of most of the American space flights of his time, such as the Explorer or Ranger series.

NASA's serious financial crisis, in 1970, relegated von Braun to the post of deputy administrator. Two years later he left this position to devote himself to private industry, where he worked up to six months before his death.

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