The time of the pioneers and the dream of peace

Jules Verne's novel, From the Earth to the Moon (1865), revived the dream of interplanetary travel. In the late nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century, isolated theorists, without financial means, founded a new science, astronautics:  Tsiolkovski from Russia, Esnault-Pelterie from France, Goddard from America and Oberth from Germany.

August 5, 1930, in Reinickendorf Some members of the "Space Navigation Society" grouped around the "advertising" rocket from the film "Woman on the Moon". On the right, Hermann Oberth, Klaus Riedel and a young Von Braun

All these individuals established the theoretical possibility of travelling through space thanks to jet-propelled rockets. It was in Germany, in the few years of prosperity during the Weimar Republic in the late 1920s, that rocket amateurs became the most numerous and active. From 1930, drawing on new products and materials arising from the second Industrial Revolution (aluminium, liquid oxygen, etc.), they endeavoured to put their theories into practice by experimenting with small rocket engines. Among these amateurs one figure quickly started to stand out - Wernher von Braun (born in 1912), a young student who was very gifted in mathematics and physics. However, these amateur groups, who did not have any support from universities or from large industrial groups, were swept away by the economic crisis.

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