A Young Legend Being Born
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German-American Rocket Scientist, Aerospace Engineer, Space Architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of Rocket technology in Nazi Germany during World War II and, subsequently, in the United States.
In his 20s and early 30s, Von Braun was the central figure in Germany's rocket development program, responsible for the design and realization of the V-2 combat rocket during World War II. After the war, he and some select members of his rocket team were taken to the U.S. as part of the then-secret Operational Paperclip. Under NASA, he served as director of the newly formed Marshal Space and as the chief architect of the Saturn V vehicle, the super booster that propelled the Apollo Spacecraft to the Moon. According to one NASA source, he is "without doubt, the greatest rocket scientist in history". His crowning achievement was to lead the development of the Saturn V booster rocket that helped land the first men on the Moon in July 1969. In 1975 he received the National Medal O f Science.