Wernher von Braun had a wife

Wernher Freiherr von Braun 1912-1977

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Missile designer

  • March 23: Wernher von Braun is born as the son of the General Director of the Deutsche Raiffeisenbank AG Magnus Freiherr von Braun and his wife Emmy (née von Quistorp) in Wirsitz (today: Wyrzysk, Poland).

  • He becomes a member of the "Verein für Raumschiffahrt", in which he makes contact with rocket engineers such as Hermann Oberth (1894-1989).

  • During his studies at the Technical University in Berlin, he assisted Oberth in experiments with liquid rockets.

  • Financed by a grant, Braun develops and tests liquid rockets in the rocket test center of the Heereswaffenamt in Kummersdorf, Brandenburg. In the years that followed, up to 80 people worked there on rocket development.

  • After the National Socialists came to power, Braun became a member of the Schutzstaffel (SS).

  • July: In his doctorate in physics on "Constructive, theoretical and experimental contributions to the problem of the liquid rocket" he presents his test results. The work may not be published as a "secret matter of command".
    December: His A1 and A2 rocket models, called "Max" and "Moritz", reach a height of 2,200 meters.

  • April: After the successful launch of an A3 missile, Braun becomes head of the newly founded Army Research Institute in Peenemünde (Usedom). The development of missiles that can be used by the military is subordinated to the Luftwaffe under Hermann Göring. Over the next few years, up to 20,000 people will work there on the development of launch vehicles.

  • Braun joins the NSDAP.

  • March: Adolf Hitler finds out about the state of rocket technology at the Kummersdorf Army Research Center.

  • Braun becomes SS-Sturmbannführer.
    The A4 rocket he developed is the first long-range rocket in the world to reach four times the speed of sound.
    July 7th: In the Führer headquarters "Wolfsschanze" (Rastenburg, East Prussia), Braun explains to Hitler the latest state of development of the A4 rocket, which will later be mass-produced as "Vergeltungswaffe 2" (V2).
    August: From the end of the month, forced laborers are used to build the rocket parts in the Mittelbau-Dora subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

  • September 7th: The Netherlands, Belgium and London are bombed with 12,000 V2 rockets. In the meantime, Braun and his employees are already designing the A9 and A10 models, which are supposed to reach destinations in the USA.
    He received the Knight's Cross for War Merit with Swords from Hitler.

  • April: Braun leaves Peenemünde with 500 employees to face the American army in southern Germany. Among other things, this has remaining V2 rockets, rocket parts and plans brought from Peenemünde and transported to the USA.
    June: Braun and a further 126 employees move to the USA and are initially stationed in Fort Bliss (Texas). They pass on their rocket science knowledge to the American military and test some of the V2 rockets brought from Germany in White Sands (New Mexico).

  • March: Marries Maria von Quistorp, with whom he has three children.

  • Moved to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, where he developed the Jupiter launch vehicles in the following years.

  • Publication of "The Mars Project" and other works, with which he becomes the most famous representative of space research.

  • The first American launch vehicle "Redstone" is being tested in Cape Canaveral (Florida).

  • Braun becomes an American citizen.

  • January: The first US satellite "Explorer 1" is brought into orbit with a Jupiter-C rocket developed by Braun.

  • With the founding of the "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" (NASA), Braun becomes director of the "Marshall Space Flight Center" in Huntsville. He successfully designed the rockets for the Saturn program.

  • With the Apollo 11 mission, the first humans land on the moon; the launch vehicle used here is the Saturn V designed by Braun.

  • Assistant Director of NASA's Washington, D.C. Planning Department.

  • June: As the US Congress drastically cuts funding for space travel, Braun leaves NASA and becomes Vice President of the aerospace company Fairchild Industries Inc. in Germantown, Maryland.

  • Founder of the "National Space Institute", which is supposed to promote space travel as a private organization.

  • June 16: Wernher von Braun dies of cancer in Alexandria, Virginia.

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