On This Day

Wernher von Braun

Rocket Scientist Wernher von Braun

Profession: Rocket Scientist

Nationality:
Germany
German

Why Famous: Von Braun was a leading figure in Nazi Germany's rocket development program, being credited with essential work in designing and developing the V-2 rocket—the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. These were used a 'vengeance weapon' so as to retaliate against Allied cities in response to the bombing of German cities.

After World War II, von Braun was recruited by the United States as a part of Operation Paperclip. He then worked on their ballistic missile program and, most notably, ended up a crucial part of the NASA team—as director of the Marshall Space Flight Center and chief architect of the Saturn V rocket program which powered the Apollo spacecraft which landed on the moon in 1969.

Born: March 23, 1912
Birthplace: Wirsitz, Germany (now Wyrzysk, Poland)

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rat
Star Sign: Aries

Died: June 16, 1977 (aged 65)
Cause of Death: Pancreatic cancer

Married Life

  • 1947-03-01 Rocket engineer Wernher von Braun (34) weds Maria Luise von Quistorp in Landshut, Germany

Historical Events

  • 1932-11-01 Wernher von Braun named head of German liquid-fuel rocket program
  • 1943-06-23 RAF discovers Wernher von Braun's V1/V2-base in Peenemunde

Famous Scientists