|The above first day cover signed by rocket engineer, Wernher von Braun, who played a prominent role in all aspects of rocketry and space exploration. - Gallery of History Direct|
Von Braun and his team developed the A-4 (also known as the V-2) ballistic missile for the Nazis during World War II. The V-2, a liquid propellant missile, was the immediate antecedent of those used in space exploration programs in the United States and the Soviet Union. First flown in October 1942, it was employed against targets in Europe in September 1944.
|An early prototype of a V-2 rocket, painted in black-and-white roll pattern scheme to aid tracking the rocket after launch.|
Von Braun was subsequently recruited to the U.S. in the aftermath of World War II. He signed a contract with the U.S Army and in September was flown to the United States, where he was assigned to the White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, as technical adviser, and to Fort Bliss. Texas, as technical director of its missile project.
|FDC with a picture of German scientists recruited to the US under Operation Paperclip.|
As part of a U.S. military operation, known as Operation Paperclip (so-called because the Secretary of State used paperclips to attach to the files of those who were selected), 500 German rocket scientists, along with plans and test vehicles, were scooped up from defeated Germany and sent to America where they were installed at Fort Bliss, Texas. There they worked on rockets for the U.S. Army, including launching the captured German V-2 rockets to conduct test flights and experiments at White Sands Proving Ground. This team of rocket experts spent five years at Fort Bliss before being transferred to Huntville's Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Dieter Grau.|
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Ernst Stuhlinger.|
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Georg von Tiesenhausen.|
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Konrad Dannenberg.|
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Oscar Holderer.|
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Walter Jacobi.|
|Signed by Von Braun's rocket team member, Werner Dahm.|