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How long did it take NASA to work out how to make the rocket?

How long did it take NASA to work out how to make the rocket?
Ollie Williams from Somerset (Age 5-14)

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One Response

  1. Actually, the American Air Force and Navy were the first organizations in the United States to experiment with rockets. They had two rocket programs called “Titan” and “Atlas”. These started in the middle of the 1950’s. I think before this there were lots of experimentation with jet engines.

    In fact, before the Americans were building rockets the Germans were doing it during World War Two. The famous “V2” rocket was used to carry warheads over Europe. They were extremely accurate weapons of destruction, and were developed during the 1930’s and 1940’s.

    After the war, the Americans were able to find the Germans who developed the V2 rocket and bring them over to the US to help develop their rocket and spaceflight programme.

    The Russians were also extremely interested in building rockets. They send a satellite called “Sputnik” in one of their rockets around the world. Although it carried only a radio transmission, it really worried the Americans who then founded NASA after the more basic Air Force and Navy rocket programmes.

    There are a couple of good sources for information on how the Americans and Russians built rockets. Firstly, a book and film called “The Right Stuff” is extremely interesting and entertaining on the American programme and the foundation of NASA. The book is authored by Tom Wolfe.

    A TV documentary shown on the Discovery channel called “The Space Race” may also be available on DVD (the associated book to this series is by Deborah Cadbury). This documents the rush by both the Americans and Russians to discover the German technology and use it for themselves.

    I think it took several organizations, hundreds of people, one world war, billions of pounds of money and at least three decades of work to build the rocket!

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