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Rocket Man: Wernher von Braun
Wernher von Braun, President Kennedy

Dr. Wernher von Braun explains the Saturn Launch System to President John F. Kennedy. NASA Deputy Administrator Robert Seamans is to the left of von Braun.

Wernher von Braun was the father of German rocket science. He invented the V-2 rockets, the missiles the Nazis launched toward England in the final months of World War II. At the end of the war, von Braun surrendered to the United States. He and his German rocket team settled initially at Ft. Bliss, Texas, later moving to Huntsville, Ala., at what became the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. In 1957, von Braun’s team worked with JPL to launch the first U.S. satellite. The Army team supplied the rocket, while JPL built the rocket’s upper stages and satellite. Explorer 1 was launched on Jan. 31, 1958.

Image courtesy: NASA

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