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Wernher von Braun Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 23 March 1912Wirsitz, West Prussia, Germany [now Wyrzysk, Wielkopolskie, Poland]
Date of Death 16 June 1977Alexandria, Virginia, USA  (cancer)
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Wernher von Braun was born on March 23, 1912 in Wirsitz, West Prussia, Germany. He is known for his work on The Search for Truth (1962), In Search of Ancient Astronauts (1973) and Footprints on the Moon: Apollo 11 (1969). He was married to Maria Luise von Quistorp. He died on June 16, 1977 in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

Spouse (1)

Maria Luise von Quistorp (1 March 1947 - 16 June 1977) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (9)

Rocket scientist.
Humorous singer-songwriter-performer Tom Lehrer includes a song about von Braun (titled, not surprisingly, "Wernher Von Braun") on his album "That Was the Year that Was."
Von Braun retired from NASA on June 10, 1972. He became involved in the private industrial sector and was active in establishing and promoting the National Space Institute. At the peak of his activities, von Braun learned he had cancer, which forced him to retire on December 31, 1976.
In 1960, his team was transferred to NASA to form the nucleus of the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville. Here he continued the development of larger rockets: the Saturn I, the Saturn IB (the rocket that launched the Apollo spacecraft in Earth orbit) and the Saturn V, the rocket that put man on the Moon.
Von Braun's rocket team at Huntsville, Alabama, built the first American ballistic missile, named the Redstone. In August 1953, the first Redstone rocket was tested at Cape Canaveral, Florida. On January 31, 1958, a modified Redstone (the Jupiter C) put the first American satellite, Explorer I, into orbit.
In 1929, he joined the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR), the German Rocket Society which had been founded on July 5, 1927. Von Braun became director of Germany's military rocket development program in 1936. As Adolf Hitler's German war machine collapsed, Berlin authorities ordered the VfR to destroy all classified documents. Von Braun disobeyed, hiding them in an abandoned mine. On May 2, 1945, the rocket team surrendered to invading American forces. Von Braun and his team were transferred to the US with about 150 captured V-2 rockets.
As a boy, von Braun dreamed of developing rockets to explore outer space. At the age of 13, he strapped six skyrocket fireworks to a red toy wagon. The wagon traveled into the center of his home town and exploded.
Received his bachelor's degree from the Berlin Institute of Technology in 1932 and two years later he earned a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Berlin.
Was mentioned in an Allan Sherman song entitled "Oh Boy".

Personal Quotes (3)

Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies populating the universe. It would be the height of presumption to think that we are the only living things in that enormous immensity. [1960]
It will free man from the remaining chains, the chains of gravity which still tie him to this planet. [on the meaning of space travel, quoted in Time magazine, 10 February 1958]
If we continue at this leisurely pace, we will have to pass Russian customs when we land on the moon. (Describing his frustration with the American Space Program during the Cold War).

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