Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Von Braun sketches for sale

Some cool sketches by Wernher von Braun will be up for auction today.

"Von Braun Sketches to be Auctioned"


Clara Moskowitz

October 14th, 2008

Sketches, diagrams, and letters from the pioneering rocket scientist Wernher von Braun will be auctioned off Wednesday.

German-born Von Braun is most famous in America for leading the project to design the rockets, including the Saturn V, that enabled America to land on the moon.

Bonhams auction agency in New York will auction 35 documents von Braun created for a series of articles called "Man Will Conquer Space Soon!" that ran in Collier's magazine between March 22, 1952 and April 30, 1954. Some of the plans and sketches, such as a diagram of a three-stage satellite vehicle, were created as source material for illustrations accompanying the article. The whole collection is estimated to value between $15,000 and $25,000.

"Reading von Braun's thoughts and speculations on the future of space travel and seeing his handwritten diagrams and sketches, some of which are surprisingly basic, is rather amazing and a clear testament to his spirit of exploration," said Bonhams spokesperson Staci Smith.

Despite his significant contributions to America's space program, von Braun's legacy is clouded by his association with Germany's Nazi Party during World War II. He led the team that developed Germany's V-2 rocket weapon, and was an honorary officer in Hitler's SS police force.

After the war, von Braun and members of his German rocket team immigrated to America, and von Braun became a U.S. citizen in 1955. He joined NASA and served as the first director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., helping to guide America's quest for the moon and inspire public support for the space program.

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