Science: The Will to Do It

His first rocket—pressurized with a bicycle pump and launched from a local dump—failed to fly. Some of his later models flew only too well, taking off from sites in Germany and occupied Holland to impact on London with horrifying effect. But if Wernher von Braun, who died of cancer last week at 65, is remembered by future generations, it will probably be for his postwar achievements. As one of the most valuable war trophies carried home by the U.S., he headed the team that developed the Jupiter C rocket that put the U.S. into the space race by launching the Explorer...

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