Von Braun, Wernher, 1912-1977

Alternative names
Birth 1912-03-23
Death 1977-06-16
English, German

Biographical notes:

Wernher Von Braun was one of the world's first and foremost rocket engineers and a leading authority on space travel.

From the description of Wernher von Braun letter, 1960. (National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum). WorldCat record id: 61257728

Von Braun was Director of the Development Operations Division.

From the description of Interim Report of Agena Survey Team and Management Plan for NASA Agena Project : letter to General Don R. Ostrander, NASA Director of Vehicle Development Operations, 1960 Jan 18. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733100656

From the description of Management Plan for NASA Agena Project, 1960 Jan 16. (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives). WorldCat record id: 733100658

Director, Development Operations Division, Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

From the description of Warum Raumfahrt? : Stuttgarter Luftfahrtgesprach in Stuttgart-Flughafen, 1959 Sept. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122332805

Wernher von Braun (1912-1977), the "father of space travel," developed the first practical space rockets and launch vehicles.

From the description of Von Braun, Wernher, 1912-1977 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10580407

German-born aerospace engineer; emigrated to the United States in 1945; served as director and administrator of U.S. space programs and projects.

From the description of Wernher Von Braun papers, 1796-1970 (bulk 1950-1970). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70979926

Biographical Note

  • 1912, Mar. 23: Wirsitz, East Prussia Poland) Republic of Poland Born, Wirsitz, East Prussia (now part of Poland)
  • 1930: Berlin, Germany Berlin Land Berlin Berlin Founding member, Rocket Field,Berlin, Germany, sponsored and financed by German Rocket Society Assistant to Hermann Oberth, experimenting with small liquid rocket motors
  • 1931: Student, Institute of Technology,Zurich, Switzerland
  • 1932: B.S., Institute of Technology,Berlin, Germany
  • 1932 - 1937 : Chief, Testing Station, German Army Proving Ground,Kummersdorf, Germany
  • 1934: Ph. D., University of Berlin,Berlin, Germany
  • 1937 - 1945 : Peenemünde, Germany Peenemünde Technical director, German Rocket Research Center,Peenemünde, Germany Responsible for V-2 Long-range Rocket and A.A. Guided Missile Wasserfall
  • 1943 - 1945 : Research professor, Peenemünde, Germany
  • 1945: Captured by U.S. Army and taken to United States
  • 1945 - 1950 : Fort Bliss, Tex. Fort Bliss Project director, Research and Development Service,U.S. Army Ordnance Corps,Fort Bliss, Tex. Technical adviser at White Sands Missile Range, N. Mex.
  • 1947: Married Maria Von Quistorp
  • 1950 - 1956 : Chief, Guided Missile Development Division, Redstone Arsenal,Huntsville, Ala.
  • 1953: Published The Mars Project (Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 91 pp.), translated by Henry J. White Published Man on the Moon (London: Sidgwick and Jackson. 134 pp.), with Fred L. Whipple and Willy Ley. Also published as Conquest of the Moon (New York: Viking Press. 126 pp.)
  • 1955: Naturalized as American citizen
  • 1956: Published The Exploration of Mars (New York: Viking Press. 176 pp.), with Willy Ley
  • 1956 - 1960 : Director, Development Operations Division, Army Ballistic Missile Agency,Huntsville, Ala.
  • 1957: Received Distinguished Civilian Service Award, Department of Defense
  • 1958: Received Dr. Robert Goddard Memorial Trophy
  • 1960: Published First Men to the Moon (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 96 pp.)
  • 1960 - 1970 : Director, George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, National Aeronautic and Space Administration,Huntsville, Ala.
  • 1967: Published History of Rocketry & Space Travel (New York: Crowell. 244 pp.), with Frederick I. Ordway III Published Space Frontier (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 216 pp.)
  • 1970 - 1972 : Deputy Associate Administrator for Planning, National Aeronautics and Space Administration,Washington, D.C.
  • 1972: Vice president, Engineering and Development, Fairchild Industries, Germantown, Md.
  • 1975: Founded National Space Institute
  • 1977, June 16: Died, Alexandria, Va.

From the guide to the Wernher Von Braun Papers, 1796-1970, (bulk 1950-1970), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


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Ark ID:


  • Aeronautics
  • Rocketry--United States
  • Agena rocket vehicles
  • Guided missiles
  • Rockets (Aeronautics)
  • V-2 rocket
  • Rocketry
  • Science--History
  • Rocketry--Germany
  • Genealogy
  • Space flight
  • World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, German


  • Public officials
  • Aerospace engineers


  • Poznań, 75, PL
  • Alexandria, VA, US