DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
V-2 rocket being prepared for an early US launch, White Sands, New Mexico. After the Second World War a number of German rocket scientists defected to the USA. Amongst these was Wernher von Braun, the head of the Nazi's pioneering V-2 rocket programme. They were taken to the White Sands missile range in New Mexico, where they continued their work. The experiments performed here led directly to the rockets later used for space exploration and for the delivery of nuclear payloads. On 16 April 1946 a V-2 taken from Germany after its defeat was the first to be launched in the US. It was unsuccessful, failing at a height of 5 kilometres, but later launches performed better.
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