Rockets in war and peace
In the years that followed, Germany took the lead in rocket development. The result was the V-2, a missile that was used to attack cities such as London towards the end of the Second World War.
In 1945, many German rocket scientists went to work in America or the Soviet Union. They helped to build bigger and more powerful missiles that could also be used for space exploration.
Sputnik 1, the world’s first satellite, was launched by a Soviet rocket on 4 October 1957. Within 10 years, the United States, under the leadership of German scientist Wernher von Braun, had built the Saturn 5, which could carry three men to the Moon.
Since 1979, Europe has developed a series of Ariane launchers that are among the most powerful and reliable in the world.
Last update: 10 December 2004