On October 3, 1942, a rocket was launched from Peenemünde, Germany. The rocket traveled about 90 kilometers (56 miles) into the atmosphere before safely landing exactly where its engineers directed it, 193 kilometers (120 miles) away. This rocket, the first ballistic missile to reach outer space, started the Space Age.
 
The rocket was developed by engineers of the Wehrmacht, or Nazi military. Originally called an A-4, the rocket was later re-named the V-2, and used for assaults on Allied targets in London, England, and Antwerp, Belgium.
 
After the war, American and Soviet scientists raced to recruit Wehrmacht engineers to join their teams. Wernher von Braun, the engineer who eventually led the American space program, has been called “the greatest rocket scientist in history.” Von Braun’s development of the V-2 led to his design of the Saturn family of rocket boosters that helped send men to the Moon
assault
Noun

violent attack.

Noun

layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.

ballistic missile
Noun

projectile that moves on its own momentum and the forces of gravity and air resistance.

design
Verb

to plan and outline.

develop
Verb

to expand or grow.

engineer
Noun

person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).

eventually
Adverb

at some point in the future.

launch
Verb

to start or instigate.

military
Noun

armed forces.

Moon
Noun

Earth's only natural satellite.

Nazi
noun, adjective

(1919-1945) (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) having to do with the National Socialist German Workers' Party.

outer space
Noun

space beyond Earth's atmosphere.

recruit
Verb

to work to supply a group with new members.

rocket
Noun

device that moves through the atmosphere by release of expanding gas.

rocket booster
Noun

rocket used to augment a vehicle's thrust in order to exit Earth's atmosphere and dropped back to Earth once its fuel is used up.

Soviet
Adjective

having to do with the Soviet Union and the areas it influenced.

Space Age
Noun

time characterized by national and business investment in space exploration and space technology, often dated from the launch of the Sputnik satellite (1957) or the development of the V-2 rocket (1942).

target
Noun

person or object accused of something.

travel
Noun

movement from one place to another.

war
Noun

large-scale armed conflict.

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