Wernher von Braun (1912 - 1977), a German engineer who was an important rocket developer and champion of space exploration from the 1930s to the 1970s. In 1934, while working for the German Army, he successfully built two rockets that rose vertically for more the than 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles). During the Second World War, Braun began working on a new secret weapon, the V2 Rocket. This 45 feet-long, liquid-fuelled rocket carried a one-ton warhead, was capable of supersonic speed, and could fly at an altitude of over 80.5 kilometers (50 miles). As a result it could not be effectively stopped once launched. The V2 Rocket was first used in September of 1944. More than 5,000 V-2s were ultimately fired on Britain. Braun and his staff fled west and surrendered to the US Army. Braun and 40 other rocket scientists were taken to the United States where they worked on the development of nuclear missiles. In 1952, Braun became technical director of the US Army's Ballistic Missile Agency at Huntsville, Alabama; he was chiefly responsible for the manufacture and successful launching of Redstone, Jupiter-C, Juno and Pershing missiles.
Dr. Wernher von Braun (Redstone Arsenal Historical Information)