Rocket Man

Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) In his 20s and early 30s, von Braun was the central figure in Germany’s rocket development program, responsible for the design and realization of the V-2 combat rocket during World War II. After the war, he and some select members of his rocket team were taken to the United States as part of the then-secret Operation Paperclip. – Wikipedia

Today we toured the U.S. Space & Rocket Center next door to the campground. The complex includes a museum, an IMAX theater and Space Camp facilities for young people. There were many artifacts from the space program including a life-size model of the space shuttle.

One of the things we learned was how U.S. rocket technology was developed from the talents of Wernher von Braun and a group of German scientists brought from Germany after WWII. America feared that these scientists would migrate to the U.S.S.R to help them develop intercontinental ballistic missiles first. So a secret project called “Operation Paperclip” brought hundreds of scientists here and took control over all kinds of patents covering technology that is still used today.

Apparently to the victor goes the spoils.

We spent time in the museum, watched an IMAX film about the Hubble space telescope and then walked the grounds viewing the various rockets and exhibits. Of course we ended our tour in the gift shop – bought some postcards for the grandkids…and a new magnet for our wall of memories.