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Wernher Von Braun

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Wernher Von Braun | Impact on Physics | John Doe |

This report is on Wernher Von Braun and his impact on physics. We will discuss his life, where he came from, his education, and his accomplishments. We will discuss the effect he and others like him had on our lives, how they changed them, and their contribution to science. Wernher Von Braun was born March 23, 1912 the second of three sons born to Baron Magnus von Braun and Baroness Emmy von Quistorp. Born in thecity of Wirsitz, the province of Posen in the Prussian area of Germany. Von Braun being born the son of a Baron and Baroness. Wernher and his brothers all became Barons at birth, they being born of German nobility. Wernher and his brothers were raised to be honorable and educated. At an early age of four Von Braun’s father had noted he could read a paper upside down and ask his teachers question they couldn’t answer even then showing an understanding complex matter above others his age. His father’s job as a diplomat had him transferred to Berlin where in the 1920 he studied music, a passion he continued until adulthood.
In 1924 at 12 years old the young aspiring rocketeers first rocket experiment didn’t go so well for him. Wernher after talking his older brother, Magnus into helping.The two Von Braun brothers bought 6 large skyrockets and lashed them to Wernher’s coaster wagon. Then placing the wagon with the rockets mounted on it on the most upscale street in Berlin. They ignited the fuses and Werher jumped in. What followed was described as a “wholly out of control wagon trailing a comet’s tail of fire” (Von Braun) down the street. The boys were quickly taken in to custody and later released to their father. Where they were confined to the house for two days by their father and their mother telling young Wernher that the world needed “live scientist not dead ones” (Von Braun). It seems though the young Wernher was already bit by the idea. As soon as he was off his house arrest, Wernher (alone this time) repeated his experiment down the same street with the same result. Near this time in his life with his grades faltering and his experiments causing his father some amount of political discomfort he was sent to the Hermann Lietz Boarding School in the Ettersburg Castle near Weimar in central Germany. This school mixed strong academics with hands-on exposure to practical crafts. He excelled in this new environment and his mother sent him a gift of a telescope reinforcing his dream of rockets and interstellar travel. In this renewed passion for space exploration the young 15 year old Wernher sent off for the book of the man that would become his mentor a 30 year old author and physics professor Hermann Oberth. After receiving it he found it mostly contained math equations, Wernher hating math finally resided himself to the fact he must learn it if he wanted to build rockets so het set in and did so. Graduating from high school with honors he set off for college at Berlins Charlottenburg Institute of Technology to study mechanical and aircraft engineering in 1930. Here he finally met Oberth and signed on as his apprentice also joining in his rocket club. In 1932 Von Braun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on aeronautical studies. In this year is where Von Braun and the rocket club got the German Armies attention. As funding was not abundant and even though some of the members of the club didn’t want too. They accepted the support of the military (rockets don’t fly without funding). Not long after 1935 Von Braun fulfilling the national requirement for service he served 2 one year stints in the German Air force also gaining a glider license. Not long after that he had received his regular pilot’s license and followed his bachelor’s degree with a master’s degree. Von Braun completed pilot training in the Luftwaffe in 1938 where he served as a reservist. At this time in his life working for the military on the A-4 missiles which Hitler himself had deemed to be a high priority, Von Braun’s team now numbering around 80, was moved to the PeenemÜnde rocket center. A dual operation of the German Army and the Air Force the new facilities were bigger and had the equipment they need to go the next step in development. Von Braun was placed as technical director on the Army side. This was unheard of for one so young to hold this position. In late 1938 he succumbed to pressure and joined the National Socialist party and was offered a commission in the SS as a second lieutenant in 1940. Now we reach a point in this paper where I feel we must cover a topic. It seemed to be the whole point of at least 1 book and is filled with nothing but opinions both for and against the man. Von Braun for whatever reason was in fact a member of the Nazi Party was a member of the SS. He did in fact research and develop the A-5, A-4 project into the V2 weapon system. The fact of the matter is Camp Dora did in fact use slave labor many of these people did not survive it. Conditions were very bad for them and Von Braun was willingly or not an officer of the SS serving as the director of the German Army’s missile program. I personally think that Von Braun could have possibly done more (to some extent should have at least tried) to prevent the suffering and eventual deaths (nearly 20,000 people) of the inmates of Camp Dora Mittelwork V-2 factory. I don’t think the outcome would have changed much and although his weapon was used as a terror weapon it wasn’t near as effective as the bombers were on the England. However, if the Nazi’s had indeed gotten an atomic weapon and mounted it to the V2 this all would have changed as I expect the outcome of the war .So as this is a paper dealing what he has contributed not a forum of blame or reason this is all we will discuss of it. As luck would have it, they did not. Germany was losing the war at this time in 1945. So Von Braun is to have said while in a rural farm house near his work “he had orders ordering him to say or die and orders ordering him to move or die” (Von Braun). Wernher and a few of his team made the decision that if they were to live and pursue their dream of space they must defect to the US. * So we fast forward to 1949 where the Russians after successfully testing a nuclear weapon and showing a lot of progress in their ballistic missile program was still not returning the lands gained in the last few months of the war. This suddenly prompted backing for Von Braun and the newly formed ABMA (Army Ballistic Missile Agency) . Still working for the Army and the Navy early to mid-50s came the Redstone short range missile then after that the Jupiter intermediate-range missile (IRBM). Still making weapons and believed to be a flake by some in the military for this whole space travel business he believed in. Von Braun kept trying to make bigger missiles that flew higher and wanted to put a manmade object in space orbit. This mission had been given to the Air Forces Thor (IRBM) system by politicians and career military men. Sept 1956 Von Braun and his team readied a Jupiter-C for launch with a (dummy) satellite package in its nose. After learning Secretary Wilson ordered General Medaris to make sure Von Braun’s team wasnot going to beat the Air Force Vanguard team into orbit. General Medaris then had given specific “Don’t you dare” (Von Braun) orders to them. With no choice, but to comply. Wenher was forced to personally inspect the fourth stage and insure it wasn’t live. So in September 1956 with an inert 4th stage the Jupiter-C flew. It climbed to an altitude of 600 miles and covered a distance of 3300 miles a record for any US rocket at that time. All doubts to any one that they could put a satellite into orbit had evaporated. However even this was rewarded by Secretary Wilson by limiting any Army missiles to 200 miles in range effectively ending further development of the Jupiter-C. It was reported that Wilson was burned in effigy in Huntsville Alabama Courthouse square after the team found out. Wernher believing he may get one last shot put the last Jupiter-C in what he reported as long term storage test to check effects of storage on the systems. In early autumn Redstone being grounded to the 200 mile range, and the vanguard project hitting glitch after glitch. The Russians launched Sputnik meaning (little moon) on October 4th 1957 becoming the first earth manmade satellite in orbit. * Suddenly overnight we had to have a satellite in space and everyone wanted it now. Suddenly ICBMs were a priority! A revelation Von Braun compared to someone telling the Wright brothers to build a B-29. A month later Sputnik II was launched with a 1120 pound payload and a dog named Laika. With Vanguard still nowhere near the launch pad yet. * November 8th the Army was given permission to proceed with the Earth satellite launch. The space race had now begun and Von Braun had gotten a front seat! Jan 31st 1958 the Jupiter-C that Von Braun had put into “long term storage testing” was launched with America’s first satellite named Explorer. Now with a successful launch his front seat turned into a driver’s seat and he was now in a position to hold his team together. February 1958 Vanguard suffered another failed launch attempt, However this was followed by a failure of explorer 2. Vanguard finally made it into space followed by back to back Explorers 3 and 4 that year. That year NASA would be formed and most everybody from both teams was transferred to it from both the Air Force and the Army missile teams. So for the first time in 28 years Von Braun was not working for the Military, not developing weapons. Von Braun was in charge of the new field center mostly because of his success and the lack of the Air Force teams. His team was in charge of the propulsion systems. Now setting his sights on a man in space he was at last in his mind doing what he had dreamed of working toward. The Mercury-Redstone flights eventually put Allen Shepard in to space and the Mercury Astronauts into many children’s and a nation’s hero’s. President Kennedy ask Von Braun what would be a “reasonable goal producing dramatic results that would put us back in front of the Russians” (Von Braun). He responded “we can go to the moon before 1970 and ahead of the Russians” (Von Braun). The Apollo program was born. We know what happened from here. * Many things came from this space race. Many new ideas theory’s and problems came from the race. ICBM’s well not one of the better things. NASA became known as the place where geniuses worked and a think tank. Many of the countries smartest men worked there with Von Braun. They figured out tested theories, found solutions, and inspired kids across the nation to study the sciences. All over kids wanted to be astronauts, rocket scientists, jet pilots and mission specialists. The country pulled together felt as one people pulling together watching a few brave men ride rockets into space going to a place most people hadn’t even dreamed people could go. Much less see men go in their lives. This all was all Science fiction as it was believed by many until a young president said we will go. Von Braun and his team made it happen. With the technical advances coming from the space race in everything from Tang to computers I fell Wernher Von Braun is one of the most important people in science and physics. A man who hated math, but want to go into space so bad he made himself learn it. His work effected our lives probably more than or at least as much as Einstein, and Robert Oppenheimer. In less than ten years from JFK saying this is our goal. We went to the moon and gave our country an edge in technical expertise we help for decades. Von Braun received the National Medal of Science in 1975 and developed the idea of Space Camp to provide educational opportunities for youth in science and space. However it wouldn’t be completed before his death in June 1977. * Now in our times 50 years since JFK, Von Braun and these men he led from NASA are all nearly gone. We have seen an exporting and even down right selling of our knowledge with an ever slowing belief in our country as a whole much less national pride. We are seeing our space program shelved cancelled and or right out mothballed. There is and was always allot more at stake than going to another rock and coming home. We had nurtured children’s dreams we made them believe they could do anything or be anything. So as we look to the future and the privatization of space travel does our dreams ride in the hands of a man who made composite aircraft that all of the experts said would never fly in the 70s and 80s and later built the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world using the same methods. He is now joined by a CEO of an Airline that experts said would go under in a year. Many of these experts companies have long since been dissolved or bought out. His is one of only a few airlines still making money. They are building thier space ships in a desert. Making their own spaceport hoping to not only revive a dream of space travel but make it so at least if you have the money anyone can go! Maybe even have set their sights on the moon, after all Mr Rutan retires this year. If only Von Braun and his slide rule scientist were her to see it after all they did it all on a piece of paper a slide ruler and a good knowledge of physics. *

Works Cited
Biddle, Wayne. Dark side of the moon: Wernher von Braun, the Third Reich, and the space race. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Print.
Braun, Werner von. History Of Rocketry & Space Travel . London: Nelson & Sons, 1966. Print.
British, that time the, and Soviet intelligence. "Wernher von Braun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun>.
Neufeld, Michael J.. Von Braun: dreamer of space, engineer of war. New York: A.A. Knopf, 2007. Print.
Ward, Bob. Dr. Space: the life of Wernher von Braun. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2005. Print.

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[ 1 ]. Tiergarten Strasse

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