Skip to comments.Wernher von Braun at 100: Legacy of a genius
Posted on 04/02/2012 10:25:16 AM PDT by Borges
One of the greatest rocket scientists of all time would have been 100 years old on Friday, and his legacy is being celebrated in his adopted home town of Huntsville, Ala.
Wernher von Braun was a German engineer who came to the United States at the end of World War II after working for the German war effort designing the V-2 combat rocket. Despite his past and affiliation with the Nazi party, von Braun went on to build the rockets that would carry U.S. astronauts to the moon and establish America as a leader in space for decades to come. He became a United States citizen in 1955.
"He was very unique," recalled American aerospace engineer David Christensen, who worked with von Braun when he arrived in the United States. "I don't know of another individual, frankly, that's had those capabilities, either then or now, that could do the things he did."
Christensen, who will turn 80 on April 7, will speak along with others who knew von Braun at a University of Alabama commemorative event on Friday in Huntsville.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
[ Just think of the outcome of our space program if the USSR grabbed all these guys first. ]
They still wouldn’t have made it as far, because the political structure of the Soviet space agency was pretty much wholly paralyzed by party politiks.
October Sky is also what I think of when I hear of Von Braun. That, and the stuff now on The Military Channel. October Sky is a must see over and over again film, especially for your kids. That movie brought a lot of things to life for me, including Von Braun himself, who was the mostly unseen underlying hero of the film.
And it was a FILM, not a movie, Beautiful telling of a beautiful story without all the over directing folks do today (ahem Tinker Tailor...)
Von Braun’s epitaph, Psalms 19:1
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”
Goddard's interaction with Von Braun and Oberth of the Vereinigung fur Raumschifahrt (society for rocket flight) is well documented in This High Man, a book about Goddard.
They essentially got their start from him. They couldn't understand why American Intelligence people kept asking them questions after the war that Goddard had given them the answers to in the early 1930's - why don't you ask your own guy, they said, don't you know he's the one who came up with it?
Von Braun was a hard line manager and engineer, not a great innovator.
Goddard was dead by the end of WWII, von Braun on the other hand, was still alive and able to help the Americans with their space program in competition with the Soviets...
The Soviets wouldn't have had a space program without their German scientists, plus stealing other technology from the West. And we wouldn't have realized Von Braun's dream of going to the Moon if it weren't for the Soviets initially beating us in space.
I’m sure there was probably a good deal of that going on. Survival is a very strong instinct.
“...to get degrees in social justice, and other such gutless studies...”
Engineering is how you make a living off of raw materials. Those degrees are how to make a living off the engineers.
Was that the "Fort Sill Beta" design that ran on zinc dust and sulfur?
I still have my copy of "Rocketry for Amateurs" that shows how to built that rocket.
the Rooskies did grab everything that wasn't nailed down and transported it back to Russia. Actually, even if it was nailed down. It would be interesting what military and scientific secrets they took from the Germans.
It did use zinc and sulfur. A small amount of black powder was used to set it off. We used the wire element from a car cigarette lighter to set it he black powder off. I was not aware that it was called a Fort Siil Beta. Maybe they were using our design in the book since we and another Okla City club were the first that I am aware of firing at Fort Sill.
I would like more info from you book.
So do I. It's locked away in my safe right now. To show you how times have changed, it was a gift from my school guidance counselor when I was in junior high.
I had learned a lot through trial and error and was up to the KNO3/C6H12O6 and aluminum bodies level when I received the book.
On the picture, it's one that I found online. They had the capability to make fantastic color images in his time through the use of multiple plates for the basic colors I believe. I'm not sure what process was used for this particular image.
One thing I learned at the link I posted about Goddard was that he had patented the gyro and vane in the exhaust control system. It's what the Germans used initially in the V2 and made from carbon, IIRC.
Yes, Megaupload has been snatched by the Feds, so you have to download one chapter at a time.
Not sure if it’s the same book, but I have a 1959 copy of “The Rocket Handbook for Amateurs” by Lt. Col. Charles M. Parkin, Jr. This book has a forward by Wernher Von Braun, and it details building a liquid fueled rocket. My copy is signed by the author to the man who gave it to me in 1975.
Is this the book you refer to?
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