Oct. 3 will mark 70 years since the first V-2 rocket was launched. It is considered to be the world’s first long-range combat missile and was used in deadly attacks on England by the Germans in the closing months of WWII. The V-2 rocket is the precursor to rockets developed in the lead up to the arms and space travel races. The photos below are from the Getty Images archive.
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1990: WASHINGTON. — TRUTH in labeling has achieved a rare breakthrough in an exhibit of military rocketry at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, a temple where tradition has called for bland captions on horrifying instruments of war.
A recent visit revealed that on one exhibit a striking change has been quietly installed. It’s the exhibit of the terror weapon Hitler unleashed in the finale to World War II, the V-2 rocket, which killed thousands of civilians in France, Belgium and Britain.
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1999: BALTIMORE. — Considered an expert in experimental fabrication of weapons, Markus O. Corn was assigned temporarily in 1945 to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. There, he worked with Wernher von Braun, the famed German rocket pioneer who was a major force in developing the V-2 rocket that was used to bomb London during the closing days of World War II.
After the war, Mr. von Braun and his team surrendered to U.S. forces and were sent to White Sands, where they voluntarily tested and worked on captured V-2s and developed the Saturn booster rocket that landed Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon in 1969.
History.com: Germany conducts first successful V-2 rocket test
National Air and Space Museum: Hypersonic Flight
National Air and Space Museum: V-2 Rocket Engine Combustion Chamber cutaway
National Air and Space Museum: Trajectories of Space Flight
Marshal Space Flight Center: Audio interview with Wernher von Braun