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V-2 Rocket Vergeltungswaffe

The V-2 (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, "Retribution Weapon 2"), Aggregat 4 (A4), was the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile. It was developed during the Second World War in Nazi Germany as a "vengeance weapon", assigned to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket also became the first artificial object to cross the boundary of space with the vertical launch of MW 18014 on 20 June 1944.
Research into the military use of long-range rockets began when the studies of graduate student Wernher von Braun attracted the attention of the German Army. A series of prototypes culminated in the A-4, which went to war as the V-2. Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, first London and later Antwerp and Liège. The attacks from V2s resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel.
As Germany collapsed, teams from the Allied forces—the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union—raced to capture key German manufacturing sites and technology. Wernher von Braun and over 100 key V-2 personnel escaped advancing Soviets and surrendered to the Americans. Von Braun role in American space program is hard to overestimate. The Soviets too gained possession of the V-2 manufacturing facilities, re-established V-2 production, and lay foundation forthe Soviet space program.
Early Rockets - V-2 rocket emerges from its camouflaged shelter
44 Media in collectionpage 1 of 1

Wernher von Braun. Herman Oberth's Kegelduese liquid rocket engine being certified.

Dr. von Braun was among a famous group of rocket experimenters in Germany in the 1930s. This photograph is believed to be made on the occasion of Herman Oberth's Kegelduese liquid rocket engine being certified ... more

Early Rockets - V-2 rocket emerges from its camouflaged shelter

In this undated file photo, probably from World War II, a V-2 rocket emerges from its camouflaged shelter. The team of German engineers and scientists who developed the V-2 came to the United States after World... more

Early Rockets - A-4 (Aggregate-4) rocket. Later renamed the V-2 (Vengeance Weapon-2).

The cutaway drawing of the A-4 (Aggregate-4) rocket. Later renamed the V-2 (Vengeance Weapon-2), The rocket was developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and the German rocket team at Peenemuende, Germany on the Balti... more

Early Rockets - Aggregate-4 (A-4) illustrates the dimensions and internal workings of the rocket. Later renamed the V-2

This German cutaway drawing of the Aggregate-4 (A-4) illustrates the dimensions and internal workings of the rocket. Later renamed the V-2, the rocket was developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and the German Rocke... more

Early Rockets A-4 (Aggregate-4). Later renamed the V-2 (Vengeance Weapon-2)

This drawing illustrates the vital dimensions of the A-4 (Aggregate-4). Later renamed the V-2 (Vengeance Weapon-2), the rocket was developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun and the German rocket team at Peenemuende, G... more

Early Rockets: German technicians wire vehicles for mobile V-2 batteries

In this photograph from the fall of 1943, German technicians wire vehicles for mobile V-2 batteries in an abandoned railroad turnel in the Rhineland. The team of German engineers and scientists who developed th... more

Early Rockets: German technicians stack the various stages of the V-2 rocket

German technicians stack the various stages of the V-2 rocket in this undated photograph. The team of German engineers and scientists who developed the V-2 came to the United States at the end of World War II a... more

Origin of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)

The German Rocket Team, also known as the Von Braun Rocket Team, poses for a group photograph at Fort Bliss, Texas. After World War II ended in 1945, Dr. Wernher von Braun led some 120 of his Peenemuende Collea... more

Early Rockets: V-2 rocket takes flight at White Sands, New Mexico, in 1946.

A V-2 rocket takes flight at White Sands, New Mexico, in 1946. The German engineers and scientists who developed the V-2 came to the United States at the end of World War II and continued rocket testing under t... more

Early Rockets V2 static test

A V-2 rocket is hoisted into a static test facility at White Sands, New Mexico. The German engineers and scientists who developed the V-2 came to the United States at the end of World War II and continued rocke... more

Hermes A-1 Test Rockets

Full Description: The first Hermes A-1 test rocket was fired at White Sand Proving Ground (WSPG). Hermes was a modified V-2 German rocket, utilizing the German aerodynamic configuration; however, internally it ... more

Bumper V-2 Launch

(July 24, 1950) A new chapter in space flight began in July 1950 with the launch of the first rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the Bumper 8. Shown above, Bumper 8 was an ambitious two-stage rocket program t... more

Saturn Apollo Program

This historical photograph is of the Apollo Space Program Leaders. An inscription appears at the top of the image that states, “Our deep appreciation for your outstanding contribution to the success of Apollo ... more

Origin of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)

Five pioneers pose with scale models of their missiles they created in the 1950s. From left to right: Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, a member of the original German rocket team who directed the Research Projects Office,... more

Wernher von Braun

Dr. von Braun stands beside a model of the upper stage (Earth-returnable stage) of the three-stage launch vehicle built for the series of the motion picture productions of space flight produced by Walt Disney i... more

Wernher von Braun

Marshall Center Director Dr. Wernher Von Braun is pictured with Walt Disney during a visit to the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1954. In the 1950s, Dr. Von Braun while working in California on the Saturn proj... more

Wernher von Braun

Dr. Wernher von Braun (center), then Chief of the Guided Missile Development Division at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, discusses a "bottle suit" model with Dr. Heinz Haber (left), an expert on aviation medicine, a... more

X-2 After Drop from B-50 Mothership

(1955) The Bell Aircraft Company X-2 (46-674) drops away from its Boeing B-50 mothership in this photo. Lt. Col. Frank "Pete" Everest piloted 674 on its first unpowered flight on August 5 1954. He mad... more

Wernher von Braun

Dr. von Braun and Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger at the Observatory of the Rocket City Astronomical Association in 1956.

Wernher von Braun in Huntsville, AL

This snapshot, dated November 1957, shows Dr. von Braun in downtown Huntsville, Alabama.

Origin of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) - Wernher von Braun

(From left to right) Karl L. Heimburg, Director of the Test Laboratory; Dr. Wernher von Braun, Director of the Development Operation Division; and Major General John B. Medaris with the model of S-1B Test Stand... more

Wernher von Braun

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Dr. James Pickering, Dr. James van Allen of the State University of Iowa, and Army Ballistic missionile Agency Technical Director Dr. Wernher von Braun triumphantly display a ... more

Wernher von Braun

Dr. von Braun on the telephone prior to the launch of the Pioneer IV, March 1, 1959.

Wernher von Braun

Dr. Wernher von Braun served as Marshall Space Flight Center's first director from July 1, 1960 until January 27, 1970, when he was appointed NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Plarning. Following World Wa... more

Wernher von Braun standing before a display of Army missiles celebrating ABMA's Fourth Open House

In this photo, Director of the US Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) Development Operations Division, Dr. Wernher von Braun, is standing before a display of Army missiles celebrating ABMA's Fourth Open House.... more

Wernher von Braun at his desk with moon lander in background

Photo of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Director Dr. Wernher von Braun at his desk with moon lander in background and rocket models on his desk. Dr. von Braun served as Marshall's first director from 1960 ... more

Wernher von Braun views a demonstration of a simulated spacecraft

Edward O. Buckbee, the first Director of the Alabama Space Science Center (left), and Dr. Wernher von Braun (right) view a demonstration of a simulated spacecraft which uses an actual hybrid rocket engine for l... more

Wernher von Braun viewing a parade with Major General John Barclay

This photograph was taken about 1960 and shows Dr. von Braun viewing a parade with Major General John Barclay.

Wernher von Braun tried out a floating platform in the Marshall Space Flight Center

Dr. von Braun tried out a floating platform in the Marshall Space Flight Center Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. This was a test rig to help determine how future astronauts will be able to perform maintena... more

Wernher von Braun during his appearance before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences

Dr. von Braun, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, spoke of the progress in the Saturn Program during his appearance before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. He was accompanied ... more

Wernher von Braun during his visit to the Huntsville Boy's Club

Dr. Wernher von Braun during his visit to the Huntsville Boy's Club on August 14, 1961.

Wernher von Braun

Dr. von Braun watches the Saturn 1 (SA-1) launch through a scope from the blockhouse 34 on October 27, 1961. The SA-1 was the first launch of Saturn launch vehicles developed at the Marshall Space Flight Center... more

Wernher von Braun explains a detail from a Saturn IB mockup

Marshall Space Flight Center Director Dr. Wernher von Braun explains a detail from a Saturn IB mockup and engine to President John F. Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and other guests, September 11, 1962.

Wernher von Braun with the front page of the Huntsville Times arnouncing the launch of Explorer I

Dr. von Braun is presented with the front page of the Huntsville Times arnouncing the launch of Explorer I, the first U.S. Earth satellite, which was boosted by the Jupiter-C launch vehicle developed by Army Ba... more

Maria von Braun, wife of Wernher von Braun

This is a portrait of Maria von Braun, wife of the famous Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) director Wernher von Braun. Her husband, Wernher, who led America to the Moon, served as MSFC’s first director fro... more

Wernher von Braun and Dr. Debus, Director of the Launch Operations Center

Dr. von Braun, Director of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and Dr. Debus, Director of the Launch Operations Center, at Complex 34 prior to the Launch of the SA-4 (the fourth flight of Saturn I), March ... more

Wernher von Braun talks with KSC's Rocco Petrone

In this photograph at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Complex 37 Control Center, Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Director Wernher von Braun (right) talks with KSC's Rocco Petrone while awaiting the launch of SA-... more

Wernher von Braun awaits the launch of the Saturn I vehicle

In this photo, Dr. von Braun anxiously awaits the launch of the Saturn I vehicle (SA-8) in the Launch Complex Control Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 25, 1965. The SA-8 mission made the fir... more

Wernher von Braun in the Launch Complex Control Center during the launch of Saturn I

This profile of Dr. von Braun was taken in the Launch Complex Control Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during the launch of Saturn I vehicle (SA-8) on May 25, 1965.

Wernher von Braun in the Launch Control Center of the Launch Complex

This image depicts the tension in the Launch Control Center of the Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, during the SA-8 on May 25, 1965. Pointing, center is Dr. Kurt Debus, Director, Launch Operations ... more

Wernher von Braun

Dr. von Braun with a model of a V2 rocket.