Von Braun Sketches to Be Auctioned

Von Braun Sketches to Be Auctioned
Wernher von Braun's sketch of a three-stage rocket used to transport a satellite to orbit, to be auctioned off by Bonhams. (Image credit: Bonhams)

Sketches, diagrams, and letters from the pioneering rocketscientist Wernher von Braun will be auctioned off Wednesday.

German-born Von Braun is most famous in America for leading theproject to design the rockets, including theSaturn V, that enabled America to land on the moon.

Bonhams auction agency in New York will auction 35 documentsvon Braun created for a series of articles called "Man Will Conquer SpaceSoon!" that ran in Collier's magazine between March 22, 1952 and April 30,1954. Some of the plans and sketches, such as a diagram of a three-stagesatellite vehicle, were created as source material for illustrationsaccompanying the article. The whole collection is estimated to value between$15,000 and $25,000.

"Reading von Braun's thoughts and speculations on thefuture of space travel and seeing his handwritten diagrams and sketches, someof which are surprisingly basic, is rather amazing and a clear testamentto his spirit of exploration," said Bonhams spokesperson Staci Smith.

Despite his significant contributions to America's spaceprogram, von Braun's legacy is clouded by his association with Germany's NaziParty during World War II. He led the teamthat developed Germany's V-2 rocket weapon, and was an honorary officer in Hitler'sSS police force.

After the war, von Braun and members of his German rocketteam immigrated to America, and von Braun became a U.S. citizen in 1955. Hejoined NASA and served as the first director of NASA's Marshall Space FlightCenter in Huntsville, Ala., helping to guide America's quest for the moon andinspire public support for the space program.


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Clara Moskowitz
Assistant Managing Editor

Clara Moskowitz is a science and space writer who joined the Space.com team in 2008 and served as Assistant Managing Editor from 2011 to 2013. Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She covers everything from astronomy to human spaceflight and once aced a NASTAR suborbital spaceflight training program for space missions. Clara is currently Associate Editor of Scientific American. To see her latest project is, follow Clara on Twitter.