The US is rightly regarded as one of the leading space powers. However, the designer who played a key role in the American missile program, is one of the most controversial characters in the history of world science.
In the spring of 1912, near poznań, a former German city of Posen, in the family of Baron von Braun was born a son named Werner. His ancestors from the sixteenth century were soldiers, father — Magnus von Braun became official. In childhood there was little to suggest what future awaits the Baron son: in high school Werner almost stayed for a second year because of bad marks in mathematics and physics. But little brown was shown a good aptitude for music. However, despite poor academic preparation, he managed to get to the police station for the launching of homemade rockets from fruit boxes and fireworks. After this scandal, the little varmint locked up in famous for the strict orders of Hermann Lietz boarding school. It was there that Werner came across a book that changed his life.
It was a small booklet of authorship of Hermann Oberth's "the Rocket to interplanetary space". Robert, Professor of physics, has focused his work on three theses: 1) space flight possible; 2) such devices can carry people and come back; 3) to these flights can be a practical sense.
Brown, who was then 13 years old, the book surprised. However, he did not understand the meaning of formulas, which operated the Oberth. And then Werner for the first time showed a lot of character: in two years he became the best student in physics and mathematics. Already in 1927, he wrote to his idol very sensible and reasonable letter, and I published the first article about the future of space flight in print. Future: in 1930 brown — student of the Higher technical school in Berlin and assistant to Robert's, a member of his experiments with jet engines. The thesis he defended at the age of 22. Now it was necessary to find willing to provide funds necessary for further development. "Sponsor" soon found: army.
After the First world war Germany was forbidden to have powerful artillery. However, the rockets bans had nothing to do. Therefore, in the Armed forces of the Weimar Republic was keenly interested in this type of weapon. In 1933, the come to power Nazis, and any prospective weapons development get a great chance.
In 1934 brown has missiles that can reach the two-kilometer altitude. It is an absolute success. Brown proposes to begin development of jet aircraft and ballistic missiles. In August 1936, begins the construction of a rocket center in North-East Germany, on the island of Usedom near the village of Peenemunde. Head of the center becomes Walter Dornberger, who headed the rocket program of Germany before the coming to power of the Nazis, and technical aspects of the program was done while von Braun.
In 1937, brown joined the Nazi party. On the one hand, it is unlikely that he shared her ideas. On the other, no moral feelings about his membership in the Nazi party, he also never experienced.
Brown led the work with the scope, but very carefully. His principle was to collect in a single complex of scientific institutions, design offices, testing facilities and production plants required for the work.
The Fuhrer showed the liveliest interest to the development of ballistic missiles in the period of fierce fighting world war II, when Stalingrad and Kursk, the fate of the world on missile projects von Braun took only half the money than on the tank.
Von Braun is widely known as an apolitical genius, just used the Nazi regime in order to safely engage in the business of their dreams.
But brown was not an armchair scholar, familiar with the realities of the Nazi state only transmissions Minister Goebbels, and the title of SS-sturmbannführer he was not for the prestige. In his charge at the site Peenemunde was a vast research and production complex, and he knew whose work uses and what works. The direct executors of the will of the genius of the rocket was thousands of prisoners forced to work in harsh conditions and died under allied bombs.
Peenemünde is not only a research center and factory, it is also a concentration camp.
The most famous prisoners on Usedom later became Mikhail Devyatayev. This Soviet pilot received the star of hero for having managed to escape from captivity in a stolen from the airfield bomber. His memories of living conditions in the camp left no room for interpretation: "the Work there is hard, the whole day in the wind, blowing from the sea, and even on an empty stomach." Directly on Usedom from abuse and starvation killed relatively few people, several hundred people were killed by the bombing. But through camp Dora, where the assembled engines for "V", over 60 000 prisoners that lived underground at an average temperature of about eight degrees and received in heavy work only 400 grams of bread a day. Among these accidents killed about 20 thousand.
In 1942 Hitler ordered to start the production of missiles A-4, better known as "V-2". However, to begin mass production of missiles in a short time failed, and on the night of August 18 1943, the British made a Grand RAID on peenemünde, in which took part about 600 bombers. Killed more than two hundred prisoners of concentration camps and hundreds of Germans. It was shot down 47 British aircraft, but it was of little consolation. General of the Luftwaffe, responsible for air defense peenemünde, committed suicide. Only by January 1944 arrived the first rocket built in the camp, Dora, in September, "V-2" began the bombardment of London and later Antwerp.
1944 was a time of personal difficulties and the brown. In the spring he was arrested by the Gestapo on charges of... the development of plans for space missions to the detriment of military programs. His release was demanded personally by the Reich Minister of armaments albert Speer.
It should be noted that the military effect of the use of "V-2" was minimal. Missiles often flew wide of the target, the resulting damage was small. Armada of British bombers were brought on the heads of the Germans to order more explosives, despite the fact that the planes themselves were much less ballistic missiles. So weapons of retaliation from the "V-2" failed. Meanwhile, the Reich rolled into the abyss: from East to Peenemunde approached the Red army.
Brown did not want to fall into Russian hands. In April, a group of brown evacuated in the Bavarian Alps, taking with them the technical documentation. On 2 may 1945 von Braun together with his colleagues surrendered to the Americans.
In the U.S. von Braun was initially expecting a cool reception. The Americans conducted a large-scale operation "Paperclip" for the purpose of export of German scientists from Europe in the ocean. In total in operation from Germany exported more than 1600 people, not counting members of their families.
Brown and his colleagues have corrected a fake biography, but time after, he spoke again under his real name. However, in the States of the German specialists was initially on the situation of prisoners. The first task of German rocket scientists were the restoration of "FAU-2" and analysis of archives peenemünde. Gradually the deeds of the Germans were back to normal. Brown received an official workplace, got married and started life anew.
The Germans just a few years gave Americans their experience. Initially, the Americans reluctantly reacted to a missile program. Especially the first projects Braun and Dornberger looked like a fancy senile Prussian warriors: military space station with nuclear weapons and crews in the hundreds of astronauts.
However, brown gradually realized that it is necessary to reduce the temperature, and the plans of the conquest of space has gained supporters not only in the Pentagon but also in society. Brown charmed even Walt Disney, who participated in the promotion of the idea of space flight.
In addition to communicating with the public von Braun bombarded the authorities with the projects of launching an artificial satellite. However, while he was confined to a revision of its own earlier missiles. The main brainchild of brown in this period was the "Redstone" missile, successfully developed the idea of "V-2". This rocket was really a good design. Designed on the basis of media Jupiter C test-launched a warhead at a distance of more than five thousand kilometers. It was a brilliant success.
And on October 4, 1957 from Baikonur, the first artificial satellite launches by the Soviet Union. After the evacuation of brown and team USA and the Russians received only the crumbs missile heritage of the Reich, however, extracted information, combined with their own efforts the team of Sergei Korolev was enough to win the race to orbit.
It was a blow...
However, even after that, brown did not provide a green light to do whatever it takes to regain parity in space. Due to technical problems the launch of an American satellite postponed several times, but on 6 December 1957, just a month after the Soviet satellite, from Cape Canaveral, the rocket was launched from the first American satellite...
...And immediately exploded. The CBS correspondent had to say epochal phrase: "it All happened so fast that I didn't see the point of departure". The trouble is that the departure was not. The program of launching an artificial satellite, the US has completely taken over the von Braun. And after 119 days after the Soviet "Sputnik" into orbit went American "Explorer".
In the US, von Braun became a national hero. When, in 1960, was created by the Center for space flight, there was no question about who will lead it. States regained the position in the space race.
For a little while. Date 12 April 1961, forever imprinted in history: on this day went into space rocket "Vostok" with Yuri Gagarin on Board. Alan Shepard climbed into the orbit on may 5, but the United States was again second.
Soon after President Kennedy directly asked the question: what were technically achievable goal in the space race? Where the Americans can be the first? The obvious solution was a lunar project. Kennedy approved this program as a priority for NASA. For the direct implementation of flight to the moon responded von Braun.
Designers of all time customized.
At this time occurred an event of great importance for the Soviet cosmonautics. 14 January 1966 — a total of 59 years — the death of the greatest Soviet rocketeer and a tireless enthusiast of the program breakthrough to the moon, and Sergey Korolev. The Soviet lunar program, and developed neither good nor bad, and finally stalled.
However, this does not mean that the Americans, led by German designer, will come to the moon as on the parquet. Nervous conditions was pressing, especially because in 1967 the first launch in the Apollo program ended in tragedy. During ground testing aboard the fire occurred, the crew of three astronauts burned to death.
Finally, on July 20, 1969 crew Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Whatever you say, it was an impressive achievement, both for US and for humanity, and for the designer.
For von Braun, this success was the greatest in my life — and the last. She was planning a trip to Mars, but the plans remained plans. In 1970, he moved to administrative work, but soon retired due to health problems. One of the last visitors of the terminally ill designer was Neil Armstrong.
Preserved the phrase brown, addressed to Armstrong: "Statistically, my prognosis is very poor, but statistically you should die in space, and I want to be in prison on Earth." June 16, 1976, Wernher von Braun died.
Tags: USA , Germany , science , space