Taming the rockets From wrath to research

In order to understand the story of the first animals in space, it is important to place them in their context within the advances of rocketry and space flight. The rockets that would eventually fly them had fascinating histories, as did the people who designed them. As rockets grew bigger and more powerful, and as their uses diversified from weapons to possible deliverers of humans into orbit, the need to see if living creatures could survive their flights grew stronger. First, however, the rockets had to fly.

THE MAN BEHIND THE VISION

Inevitably, discussions on the genesis of the spaceflight programmes of different nations always seem to involve the curious paradox that exists in the history of American rocketry and space flight. The passage of time brings a host of innovations and changes, but it does not diminish one irrefutable fact - that the man most responsible for giving the United States an unassailable supremacy in the all-out race to land the first person on the moon was a former, and formidable, enemy of the Allies.

Even though the person in question found the use of his rockets as weapons of war unpalatable, he nevertheless took advantage of the opportunity to work for his Nazi overlords to create a series of lethal projectiles, crammed with high explosives, which included variants specifically designed to be launched on civilian targets.

During the Second World War this family of ballistic missiles would become universally known, feared and despised as the V-weapons. Ironically, neutered versions of these same rockets would one day carry a host of animals into the heavens on peaceful, science-gathering missions.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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