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Wernher von Braun at 100: Legacy of a genius
MSNBC ^ | 3/23/12 | Clara Moskowitz

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 ...


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: germany; wernhervonbraun

1 posted on 04/02/2012 10:25:17 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won’t even frown
“Ha, Nazi schmazi,” says Wernher von Braun

Don’t say that he’s hypocritical
Say rather that he’s apolitical
“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That’s not my department,” says Wernher von Braun

Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun

You too may be a big hero
Once you’ve learned to count backwards to zero
“In German oder English I know how to count down
Und I’m learning Chinese,” says Wernher von Braun

— Tom Lehrer


2 posted on 04/02/2012 10:29:09 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Like Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin has become simply a stick with which to beat Whites.)
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To: Borges

“Despite his past and affiliation with the Nazi party...”

I don’t think he had much of a choice.


3 posted on 04/02/2012 10:31:08 AM PDT by EEGator
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To: ClearCase_guy

Plagerize, plagerize, let no one’s work escape your eyes.

Tom Lehr, one of me favorite geniuses, graduated from MIT, then went on to become an irreverent songster.


4 posted on 04/02/2012 10:38:07 AM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (A free country and a lying media are incompatible.)
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To: Borges

Just think of the outcome of our space program if the USSR grabbed all these guys first.


5 posted on 04/02/2012 10:40:26 AM PDT by trailhkr1 (All you need to know about Zimmerman, innocent = riots manslaughter = riots guilty = riots)
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To: Borges

Right after Sputnik went up In 1957 there were rocket clubs formed in high schools around the country similar to the one in the movie October Sky. I was a member of a club of 5 members in my high school in Oklahoma City. Von Braun came to Oklahama City and met with us and a couple of other clubs.

We went on to fire several rockets at Fort Sill that were tracked on radar and our club set the record of 5200 ft. One of our members went on to be and engineer and worked for NASA for a while.


6 posted on 04/02/2012 10:40:39 AM PDT by Okieshooter
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To: Borges

Just think of the outcome of our space program if the USSR grabbed all these guys first.


7 posted on 04/02/2012 10:41:00 AM PDT by trailhkr1 (All you need to know about Zimmerman, innocent = riots manslaughter = riots guilty = riots)
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To: SunkenCiv

/mark


8 posted on 04/02/2012 10:45:18 AM PDT by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: Borges

He also became a Christian after being witnessed to by a Gideon.


9 posted on 04/02/2012 10:49:55 AM PDT by tang-soo (Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - Read Daniel Chapter 9)
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To: Borges

Von Braun was one of the old school engineers who designed the massive Saturn V with basically slide rule technology.


10 posted on 04/02/2012 10:53:06 AM PDT by The Great RJ ("The problem with socialism is that pretty soon you run out of other people's money" M. Thatcher)
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To: Okieshooter

I always think of October Sky when I hear about Von Braun. That was a great film...


11 posted on 04/02/2012 10:53:39 AM PDT by alphadoggie
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To: trailhkr1

“No Senator...our Germans are better than their Germans.”


12 posted on 04/02/2012 10:53:48 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: EEGator
I don’t think he had much of a choice.

When your boss is sacked and you find out that you now report directly to Heinrich Himmler your options dwindle down to "work voluntarily and possibly survive" or "work at gunpoint and die when finished."

13 posted on 04/02/2012 11:03:27 AM PDT by jboot
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To: Borges

14 posted on 04/02/2012 11:05:50 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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Wernher von Braun, Jack Parsons, Crowley, Hubbard...


15 posted on 04/02/2012 11:07:23 AM PDT by evets (beer)
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To: trailhkr1
I imagine that Wernher would acknowledge that much of his success was due to the efforts of this man.


16 posted on 04/02/2012 11:09:46 AM PDT by Errant
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To: Borges

Bet they don’t commemorate him in London.


17 posted on 04/02/2012 11:11:47 AM PDT by SeeSharp
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To: Errant

Is that Goddard?


18 posted on 04/02/2012 11:15:19 AM PDT by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
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To: The Great RJ
Von Braun was one of the old school engineers who designed the massive Saturn V with basically slide rule technology.

And now an engineering degree is so complicated it takes 5 or 6 years to complete.

And others are...

* Taking out loans now from Fedzilla.
* to get degrees in social justice, and other such gutless studies.
* And Obama essentially shuts down the space program.

We are so screwed...

Obama doing what only Nikita Khrushchev could only dream of doing without a shoe!

19 posted on 04/02/2012 11:17:54 AM PDT by taildragger (( Palin / Mulally 2012 ))
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To: alphadoggie

“I always think of October Sky when I hear about Von Braun. That was a great film...”

As you can imagine, I can relate to the movie in a personal way. It was a great experiance for me and my 4 classmates.


20 posted on 04/02/2012 11:18:58 AM PDT by Okieshooter
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To: trailhkr1

[ 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.


21 posted on 04/02/2012 11:21:33 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: Westbrook
Invention and History of Rockets - Robert Goddard (1882-1945)
22 posted on 04/02/2012 11:26:15 AM PDT by Errant
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To: alphadoggie

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...)


23 posted on 04/02/2012 11:58:15 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright
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To: Borges

Von Braun’s epitaph, Psalms 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”


24 posted on 04/02/2012 12:07:26 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: Errant
Fabulous picture. Was the color added?

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.

25 posted on 04/02/2012 12:08:29 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: Regulator

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...


26 posted on 04/02/2012 12:29:01 PM PDT by sinsofsolarempirefan
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To: trailhkr1
Just think of the outcome of our space program if the USSR grabbed all these guys first.

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.

27 posted on 04/02/2012 12:38:49 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: jboot

I’m sure there was probably a good deal of that going on. Survival is a very strong instinct.


28 posted on 04/02/2012 1:00:29 PM PDT by EEGator
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To: zot

Operation Paperclip


29 posted on 04/02/2012 1:11:00 PM PDT by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: taildragger

“...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.


30 posted on 04/02/2012 1:17:49 PM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: Okieshooter
We went on to fire several rockets at Fort Sill that were tracked on radar and our club set the record of 5200 ft.

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.

31 posted on 04/02/2012 1:36:03 PM PDT by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: trailhkr1
"all these guys"

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.

32 posted on 04/02/2012 3:37:45 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: backwoods-engineer

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.


33 posted on 04/02/2012 3:57:02 PM PDT by Okieshooter
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To: KoRn; KevinDavis

Thanks KoRn. Directly or indirectly, all the world's space programs came from his V2. All of them.
Saturn V

34 posted on 04/02/2012 4:29:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Okieshooter
Capt. Brinley's entire book is available free online as PDFs for each chapter.
35 posted on 04/02/2012 6:34:26 PM PDT by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: backwoods-engineer
I still have my copy of "Rocketry for Amateurs" that shows how to built that rocket.

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.

36 posted on 04/02/2012 8:45:57 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Regulator
As I understand it, the Germans found a wealth of information in a book/pamphlet that Goddard had publish?

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.

37 posted on 04/02/2012 8:57:44 PM PDT by Errant
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To: backwoods-engineer
If you try to grab the entire book at the link provided, you get this:


38 posted on 04/02/2012 9:07:43 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Errant

Yes, Megaupload has been snatched by the Feds, so you have to download one chapter at a time.


39 posted on 04/03/2012 9:03:45 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: Okieshooter

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?


40 posted on 04/03/2012 5:04:27 PM PDT by LifePath
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To: LifePath

The book we were discussing was published in 1960 by a Capt Brindley, but there must have been at least 3 similar books. Here is another

http://www.rocketryplanet.com/images/stories/archives/2929/a-guide-to-amateur-rocketry.pdf


41 posted on 04/03/2012 5:35:47 PM PDT by Okieshooter
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To: LifePath
Here is a picture of my rocket club at Fort Sill in early 1958Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
42 posted on 04/03/2012 6:33:34 PM PDT by Okieshooter
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