WERNHER VON BRAUN. TLS: "Wernher von Braun" as Director of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, 1p, 7½x10. Huntsville, Alabama, 1962 November 8. On letterhead of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to Mr.

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Condition: lightly creased, otherwise fine condition
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WERNHER VON BRAUN. TLS: "Wernher von Braun" as Director of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, 1p, 7½x10. Huntsville, Alabama, 1962 November 8. On letterhead of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to Mr. Robert Kopple, Mutual Admiration Society, New York, New York. In full: "Thank you for your invitation contained in your letter of October 22 to meet with the Mutual Admiration Society. Lunching with your group would unquestionably be informative, stimulating and fun. I am in the unfortunate position of having to decline all invitations away from Huntsville except where official travel, in connection with the Manned Lunar Landing Program, takes me to an area at the appropriate time. This, of course, causes me to miss many opportunities to spread the word about the nation's space program as well as to enjoy the fellowship of organizations such as yours. I will keep your letter close at hand and should I find after the first of the year that I will be in New York on any of the dates mentioned in your letter, I will write you asking for a raincheck. Please express my admiration to all of the other Mutual Admirers." As a young boy in Germany, Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977) looked up at the Moon and dreamed of the day when man would set foot on the lunar surface. This vision would become his life's work. At the time he signed this letter, Von Braun was leading the effort of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge to land a U.S. astronaut on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. As director of NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960-1970, von Braun would oversee the development of the Saturn rockets that would carry the Apollo astronauts into space. This included the Saturn V, which propelled Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin toward their historic lunar landing on July 20, 1969. At the time of this letter, Von Braun's rockets carried a series of one-man orbital and suborbital missions aloft as NASA's Mercury Program (May 1961-June 1963) began America's manned exploration. Von Braun continually spoke on the subject of rocketry and space exploration and wrote or co-authored several relevant works, including Conquest of the Moon (1953), Exploration of Mars (1956, First Men to the Moon (1960) and Space Frontier (1967). His youthful fascination with rockets had led von Braun to join a leading amateur rocketry club in 1930. After receiving his engineering degree two years later, he supervised a rocket research facility under the auspices of the German Army. In 1936, two years after completing a Ph.D. at the University of Berlin, he became technical director of the research facility at Peenemunde, where he and his team developed the deadly V-2 rockets that wreaked havoc on England and Belgium in the closing days of WWII (1939-1945). Von Braun later explained his honorary commission in the Waffen SS Corps as a ploy by Heinrich Himmler to advance military rocket research. In February 1944, Himmler had von Braun arrested because of a report that the scientist's interests lay in space travel rather than weaponry. Because of von Braun's critical role in rocket development, he was soon released. Fearing capture by the Soviets as the war came to an end, von Braun and his colleagues surrendered to the Americans in 1945. For the next five years, he served as technical director of the U.S. Army's missile proving grounds at White Sands, New Mexico. Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Receipt stamp at lower left margin, stray ink mark at upper blank margin, while has 2 file holes. Fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 31¼x20½.

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