This excerpt is from History of Rocketry & Space Travel (Revised Edition) by Wernher von Braun and Frederick I. Ordway III. It refers to Operation Paperclip, in which German rocket scientists and engineers were brought to America after the fall of Nazi Germany in World War II. A large portion of them were based at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, while they conducted their rocket research with Americans at White Sands Proving Ground in southern New Mexico.

The main body of Germans began arriving at Fort Bliss in December 1945, and by February 1946 over a hundred were on hand. They were quartered in converted hospital buildings that gradually became more homelike....

To support the V-2 flights, Army Ordnance contracted for the services of the General Electric Company in what became known as the Hermes program. While the components of the missiles flown in 1946 were completely of German origin, increasing modifications were made from 1947 onward, primarily to accommodate larger and more complex payloads. By 1950 the V-2 rocket had been lengthened by 5 feet, increasing its payload capacity from 16 to 80 cubic feet.

The V-2 program, in addition to giving Americans experience in launching large vehicles, gave valuable information on every aspect of rocket flights and added considerably to infromation about the upper atmosphere. Most of the rockets were flown from White Sands, carrying instruments that measured atmospheric characteristics and the ionosphere. A V-2 carrying atmospheric sounding gear and a biological payload reached an altitude of 116 miles on 17 December 1946. The highest altitude attained was achieved on 22 August 1952, when vehicle TF-1, with no scientific instrumentation, flew to 133 miles above the New Mexico desert.
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This excerpt is from "Port of Entry: An in-depth look at the history of White Sands Space Harbor," by Wayne Mattson. It was published in the March 2002 issue of New Mexico Space Journal. This portion discusses some of the reasons the airstrip (originally known as Northrup Strip) at White Sands Missile Range was chosen as a back-up landing strip and training facility for space shuttle missions.

Although it had not been chosen for primary [landing site] suty, Northrup Strip did become the site for shuttle pilot training for simulated approaches and landings. The excellent weather of southern New Mexico combined with the military control of surrounding air space (thus preventing potential collisions with civilian aircraft) were irresistable to the NASA planners. But, perhaps the most convincing factor to train at Northrup Strip was the lack of birds in the area. Birds are among the greatest hazards to aircraft. At Cape Canaveral in Florida sea birds are a constant concern, but the White Sands Missile Range lies in the arid Tularosa Basin where the number of birds are limited.
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These quotes from Wernher von Braun are taken from the Golden Proverbs website. Von Braun worked in New Mexico from 1946 until 1950, improving liquid-fuel rocket development at White Sands Proving Ground.

We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.

I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.

There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer-space program - your tax-dollar will go further.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft, and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.

        
It would be an error to overlook the possibility that the universe was planned rather than happening by chance
.
New Mexico's
Space Voices Archives

New Mexico's Space Voices Archives
2020 Voices entries will be archived here each month.

2020 Voices entries will be archived here each month.
This excerpt is from History of Rocketry & Space Travel (Revised Edition) by Wernher von Braun and Frederick I. Ordway III. It refers to Operation Paperclip, in which German rocket scientists and engineers were brought to America after the fall of Nazi Germany in World War II. A large portion of them were based at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, while they conducted their rocket research with Americans at White Sands Proving Ground in southern New Mexico.

The main body of Germans began arriving at Fort Bliss in December 1945, and by February 1946 over a hundred were on hand. They were quartered in converted hospital buildings that gradually became more homelike....

To support the V-2 flights, Army Ordnance contracted for the services of the General Electric Company in what became known as the Hermes program. While the components of the missiles flown in 1946 were completely of German origin, increasing modifications were made from 1947 onward, primarily to accommodate larger and more complex payloads. By 1950 the V-2 rocket had been lengthened by 5 feet, increasing its payload capacity from 16 to 80 cubic feet.

The V-2 program, in addition to giving Americans experience in launching large vehicles, gave valuable information on every aspect of rocket flights and added considerably to infromation about the upper atmosphere. Most of the rockets were flown from White Sands, carrying instruments that measured atmospheric characteristics and the ionosphere. A V-2 carrying atmospheric sounding gear and a biological payload reached an altitude of 116 miles on 17 December 1946. The highest altitude attained was achieved on 22 August 1952, when vehicle TF-1, with no scientific instrumentation, flew to 133 miles above the New Mexico desert.

---
This excerpt is from "Port of Entry: An in-depth look at the history of White Sands Space Harbor," by Wayne Mattson. It was published in the March 2002 issue of New Mexico Space Journal. This portion discusses some of the reasons the airstrip (originally known as Northrup Strip) at White Sands Missile Range was chosen as a back-up landing strip and training facility for space shuttle missions.

Although it had not been chosen for primary [landing site] suty, Northrup Strip did become the site for shuttle pilot training for simulated approaches and landings. The excellent weather of southern New Mexico combined with the military control of surrounding air space (thus preventing potential collisions with civilian aircraft) were irresistable to the NASA planners. But, perhaps the most convincing factor to train at Northrup Strip was the lack of birds in the area. Birds are among the greatest hazards to aircraft. At Cape Canaveral in Florida sea birds are a constant concern, but the White Sands Missile Range lies in the arid Tularosa Basin where the number of birds are limited.

---
These quotes from Wernher von Braun are taken from the Golden Proverbs website. Von Braun worked in New Mexico from 1946 until 1950, improving liquid-fuel rocket development at White Sands Proving Ground.

We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.

I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.

There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer-space program - your tax-dollar will go further.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft, and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.

        
It would be an error to overlook the possibility that the universe was planned rather than happening by chance.
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Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.
Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is © Loretta Hall 2010-2020.