Sunday, October 22, 2006

VON BRAUN MOVES TO NASA:

What is not stated here is the real story of how Von Braun and many other Nazi scientists ended up in the U.S. to begin with. Think O.S.S. (precurser to C.I.A.)............PEACE........Scott


VON BRAUN MOVES TO NASA:
October 21, 1959

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring the
brilliant rocket designer Wernher von Braun and his team from the U.S. Army to
the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Von
Braun, the mastermind of the U.S. space program, had developed the lethal V-2
rocket for Nazi Germany during World War II.Wernher von Braun was born into an
aristocratic German family in 1912. He became fascinated with rocketry and the
possibility of space travel after reading Hermann Oberth's The Rocket into
Interplanetary Space (1923) when he was in his early teens. He studied
mechanical engineering and physics in Berlin and in his free time assisted
Oberth in his tests of liquid-fueled rockets. In 1932, Von Braun's rocket work
attracted the attention of the German army, and he was given a grant to continue
his work. He was eventually hired to lead the army's rocket artillery unit, and
by 1937 he was the technical director of a large development facility located at
Peenem├Żnde on the Baltic Sea.Von Braun's rocket tests impressed the Nazi
leadership, who provided generous funding to the program. The most sophisticated
rockets produced at Peenem├Żnde were the long-range ballistic missile A-4 and the
anti-aircraft missile Wasserfall. The A-4 was years ahead of rockets being
produced in other nations at the time. It traveled at 3,600 mph, was capable of
delivering a warhead a distance of more than 200 miles, and was the first rocket
to enter the fringes of space. In 1944, the Nazis changed the name of A-4 to V-2
and began launching the rockets against London and Antwerp. The V stood for
Vergeltung--the German word for "vengeance"--and was an expression of Nazi
vindictiveness over the Allied bombardment of Germany. The V-2s took many lives
but came too late to influence the outcome of the war.Von Braun and 400 members
of his team fled before the advancing Russians in 1945 and surrendered to the
Americans. U.S. troops quickly seized more than 300 train-car loads of spare V-2
parts, and the German scientists were taken to the United States, eventually
settling at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they resumed their rocketry work. At first,
they were closely supervised because of their former allegiance to Nazi Germany,
but it soon became apparent that they had fully shifted their loyalty to America
and the great scientific opportunities it provided for them.In 1950, von Braun
and his team, which now included Americans, were transferred to Huntsville,
Alabama, to head the U.S. Army ballistic-weapons program. During the 1950s, von
Braun enthusiastically promoted the possibilities of space flight in books and
magazines. In 1955, he became a U.S. citizen.The USSR successfully launched
Sputnik--the world's first artificial satellite--in October 1957, but von
Braun's team was not far behind with its launching of the first American
satellite--Explorer 1--in January 1958. In July of that year, President
Eisenhower signed legislation establishing NASA, and on October 21 von Braun was
formally transferred to the new agency. Von Braun, however, did not really go
anywhere; NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center was built around von
Braun's headquarters in Huntsville. In 1960, he was named the Marshall Center's
first director.At Huntsville, von Braun oversaw construction of the large Saturn
launch vehicles that kept the United States abreast of Soviet space achievements
in the early and mid 1960s. In the late 1960s, von Braun's genius came to the
fore in the space race, and the Soviets failed in their efforts to build
intricate booster rockets of the type that put the first U.S. astronauts into a
lunar orbit in 1968. Von Braun's Saturn rockets eventually took 27 Americans to
the moon, 12 who walked on the lunar surface. Von Braun retired from NASA in
1972 and died five years later.

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