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Woman in the Moon

I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the Earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of super earthly hopes!

Friedrich Nietzsche. Thus spoke Zarathustra

Force needs a direction

On the 3rd October 1942 in Peenemuende on the North West point, the first man-made object was launched into space. During the Second World War the rocket was given a name for propaganda purposes – V2. With this name, the rocket became known world wide. It was visionaries, technicians, engineers, doctors, military personnel and craftsmen who dynamically and creatively followed the genius of Wernher von Braun and with the support of thousands of hands a new age for mankind began – the age of space travel.

Mankinds departure into space

Start of an Aggregat 4 in Peenmuende, teststand 7

Rear of the Aggregat 4 on 3rd of October 1942

We reached into space with our rocket.

Colonel Dr. Walter Dornberger after the first successful flight of the rocket on 3rd October 1942

The 3rd of October 1942

The first man-made object into space It was children’s dreams and the books of visionaries such as Hermann Oberth*, the technical potential, possibilities of modernity, and the financial means of the German army which prepared the ground on 3rd October 1942 for a decisive step of human development of technology. 10 years before Wernher von Braun was only one of many meticulous rocket enthusiasts whose enthusiasm for the cause was only exceeded by the scarcity of means for implementing their imagination. Searching for technology which was not prohibited under the Versailles treaty, in October 1932 Colonel Dornberger campaigned for the young 19 year old student for the post of technical leader of the German Army's weapons development division.

Only here were there realistic opportunities for the young von Braun to factually advance his greatest goal – a flight to the stars. Finally, in October 1942 he was the technical leader of the rocket development in the army research centre of Peenemuende and the first rocket had reached out into space. This rocket was developed to be used as a weapon in war. From the beginning, in Peenemuende, the concept however was designed for space travel. With exceptional investment and within a short time period, in 1936 the army research centre became operational. Thousands of people worked here under the cover of secrecy.

Their development work established the basis for space travel and culminated in the manned moon shot in 1969. On the space flight on 3rd October 1942 the Aggregat 4 reached the highest point of its trajectory at 84 km. In further height tests the projectile ascended up to 184 km over the Earth. “If the rocket is not considered as a weapon, the overall future prospects are enormous. A dream can become reality and from hope and theoretical thoughts the spacecraft can be realised. Our work, our accomplishments and our success have made the first contributions. To ensure that they are not lost, the winner of hopefully this last war of mankind must take on this task.” **


*His published book (1922): “Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen” inspired the young Wernher von Braun and challenged him to take up studying physics, as he hardly understood anything about technical mathematical designs. Oberth handed in his papers as a dissertation to the University of Heidelberg. It was rejected as nobody was able to assess it.

** After the end of the war, Walter Dornberger, military project leader, relocated to the U.S.A.  with Wernher von Braun’s  development team and summed up his book, published in 1952, with the words: “V2 – The shot into space”, as quoted.

V-2 production at concentration camp Dora Mittelbau

Victims of concentration camp Dora Mittelbau

But I want a devasting –, I want a devasting impakt!*

Adolf Hitler after the presentation of the V2 at the on 7th Juli 1943

The Second World War

Adolf Hitler and the "silver bullet" (Wunderwaffe) Hitler’s goals were to strengthen his German nation, exterminate the Jews, to unify the European region under Germany’s leadership and to acquire more living space in the East. To achieve these goals he placed very little importance to the development work of the rocket enthusiasts in Peenemuende. Only in 1943 when the Germans started facing defeat did Hitler rapidly clutch at the straw which was to become the silver bullet. But the silver bullet was certainly not to be the A4, the V2.

It was neither a product suitable for mass production nor an unerringly powerful weapon. And the decisive factor was that even using all the resources available, it would be impossible to create this immediately. With the illusion of “make or break” the production capacity was cruelly and brutally stepped up. In the “Dora concentration camp” which belonged to the Buchenwald concentration camp, approximately 20,000 people died in the production of the “silver bullet”. During its use in the war  approximately 5,000 died.

Even though it was too late for his Germany, on that day of 7th July 1943, when von Braun and Dornberger presented their results to him, Hitler recognized the importance of rocket technology for the war: “If we had had this weapon in 1939, there would have been no war – Europe and the World are too small for a war – now and in the future. Using these weapons will make the war unbearable for humans.”*


* An Adolf Hitler quote from Walter Dornberger, V2 - Der Schuss ins Weltall, 1952, p. 112ff

Wernher von Braun in front of a Saturn V rocket

Apollo 11 on the Moon

But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon – it will be an entire nation.

John F. Kennedy in his Congress speach "Urgent National Needs" on 25th May 1961

The flight to the stars

After Germany’s defeat there were hardly any realistic alternatives open for Wernher von Braun and the Peenemuende developers. The Americans removed all the V2 rockets which were left at the Dora concentration camp and took them to the USA, as well as the complete documentation of the development and Wernher von Braun and some of his team.

The ‘hot war’ turned into a ’cold war’ and thanks to the Germans, the Americans possessed revolutionary know-how. Whilst the Americans, mainly without the involvement of the German rocket pioneers, continued to enhance the technology they obtained, von Braun never lost track of his goal. He continued his work on designing for space travel and started to sell space travel to the Americans. He enthusiastically campaigned for the implementation of his ideas. When the Soviet Union launched the first satellite "Sputnik" in October 1957 and in April 1961 with Juri Gagarin the first person into space, the Americans grasped the “Wernher von Braun team” back and President Kennedy adopted von Braun’s publicised goal as his own: the flight to the moon.

About 30 years after the first attempts, in the legendary “Spaceflight Club” and almost 20 years after the success in Peenemuende, the resources were now available to complete the great dream of the flight to the stars. On 20th July 1969 when the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission landed and walked on the moon, von Braun and the Peenemuende pioneers together with the might of the Americans had finally accomplished their goal.

I would be glad to get to know somthing about this picture. I know nothing about it. Pierre Kynast,

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The formula of my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal...

Friedrich Nietzsche. Twilight of the Idols

The age of space travel

Consequences of mankinds lift upon the earth When the mortals began to bear witness they all too often looked away from themselves, Earth and mankind. They invented Gods, Kingdom of Heavens, and hidden worlds as places to escape and to bear hope. They strived after salvation or followed the illusion of obtaining earthly happiness in the after-life. However much suffering or not, it was the view into the vastness of space and the reverence for the starlit sky, the aspiration for other Worlds and the desire for reaching the stars which drove people to look away from the Earth. But it is the reverse view towards Earth which enabled this aspiration and is defining the new dawning era. It was only when the people started reaching beyond Earth with their knowledge, did this view in every sense become possible. Only now can humans view and understand Earth in its entirety. The aspiration and the will towards other Worlds brought the people back to themselves in a large arc to their only real world. From celestial to terrestrial, from God to Humans, from heaven to Earth the visions of the great creator, the conqueror of all boundaries, the romantic  idealists, the people who became God.

... off to new seas!

“I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the Earth”

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