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Dr Wernher von Braun (1912-77), German-American rocket designer. Von Braun was the son of a German baron and Government minister. He was educated at Zurich and Berlin Institutes of Technology. He started work on rocket design in 1932, becoming technical head of the German Peenemunde research centre in 1938. There he was responsible for the development of the V-2 rocket. At the end of the war, von Braun surrendered to the American army. He became a leading figure in the American space programme, designing the first US satellite launcher (Jupiter) in 1958 and overseeing the design of the Saturn rocket in the 1960s. He left NASA in 1972, and died of cancer five years later.
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