Saturday, 15 September 2007

(MAR 23) Born on this day: Wernher von Braun

Photo: NASA. (public domain)

Born on 23 March 1912 in Wyrzysk in the German Kingdom of Prussia (now Poland), Wernher von Braun has become known as ‘the father of modern space flight’, and is pictured here standing by the five F-1 engines of a Saturn V launch vehicle. His modest contribution to science fiction was his novel Project Mars: a Technical Tale, set in 1980, and which, according to his biographer Erik Bergaust, was rejected by no less than eighteen publishers. He later published portions of this work in magazines to illustrate and popularize Project Mars, and only in 2006 was the complete manuscript published as a book. The novel was also used as the basis for Byron Haskin’s film Conquest of Space in 1955, though von Braun was not credited.

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