portrait of Wernher von Braun
At his desk at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (May 1964)

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Quotes of the Day for 23 March 2003 – Wernher von Braun

Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun was born at Wirsitz, Germany (now Wyrzysk, Poland) on this day in 1912. Fascinated by space flight as described by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, he dedicated himself to learning the math needed to comprehend rocketry. His progress was such that he had a research grant from the German army before he graduated from university, and he was the leader of the Peenemunde rocket development center. Seeing that Germany was going to fall, he arranged for the bulk of his team to surrender to US forces, and made sure the remnants of his project fell mostly into US hands. For fifteen years he was key to the US missile and space programs and designed most of the US' rockets through the Saturn V, along with Spacelab. When the launch of Sputnik stunned the US, von Braun modified a Redstone rocket to enable the launch of the first US satellite within five months. It turns out he also had a sense of humor.

Van's signature

You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

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

Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of the billions of galaxies populating the universe. It would be the height of presumption to think that we are the only living things within that enormous immensity.

We can lick gravity, but the paperwork's a bit tougher.

Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby in a month.

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

There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer-space program: your tax dollar will go farther.
     - All from Wernher Magnus Maximilian von Braun, 1912 - 1977

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