A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MAN BEHIND THE APOLLO SPACE PROGRAM: WERNHER VON BRAUN

 #space #science                                                   Wernher von Braun was a German, later American aerospace engineer and space visionary credited for the development of the V-2 rocket for Nazi Germany and the Saturn V for the United States. He was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Nazi Germany. After World War II he was secretly moved to the US along with other 1,500 scientists and engineers as part of the Paperclip Operation, where he developed the rockets that launched the US first space satellite Explorer 1 and the Apollo program manned lunar landings. On June 20 1945, the U.S. Secretary of State approved the transfer of von Braun and his specialists to America. Von Braun passion for space exploration involved him to began working with Walt Disney and the Disney studios as a technical director, initially for three television films about space exploration. The initial broadcast devoted to space exploration was Man in Space, which first went on air on March 9, 1955, drawing 40 million viewers. In an internal memo dated January 16, 1969 von Braun had confirmed to his staff that he would stay on as a center director at Huntsville to head the Apollo Applications Program. He referred to this time as a moment in his life when he felt the strong need to pray, stating “I certainly prayed a lot before and during the crucial Apollo flights”. A few months later, on occasion of the first Moon landing, he publicly expressed his optimism that the Saturn V carrier system would continue to be developed, advocating manned missions to Mars in the 1980s which actually didn’t happen.

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Author: Jesus Padilla

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