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Legacy of Peenemünde

Join us for a sneak peek into historian Greg Kennedy's upcoming book! 

In 1944, Germany unleashed the V-1 and V-2 missiles. The Germans developed both the V-1, a cruise missile, and the V-2, a liquid-fuel ballistic missile, at a research center on the Baltic Island of Usedom. A small fishing village near the northwest tip of the island, Peenemünde, gave the center its name.

The V-1 and V-2 were not the only activities at Peenemünde: the scientists and engineers who worked in the laboratories on Usedom Island also developed the world’s premiere supersonic research facility; tested the first operational rocket-powered aircraft; and created a variety of guided missiles.

Some missiles had romantic sounding names like Butterfly, Waterfall, Typhoon, and Rhine Maiden; others had more functional names like Hs 293, Hs 298, Fritz-X, and X-4. Some reached operational status, often with devastating results, but most never progressed beyond the testing phase. Regardless, they represented a high-water mark in weapons technology.

As the war in Europe ended, technical teams from the Allied nations raced to collect samples of the missiles and round up the people who developed them. In the post-war period, many key personnel from these projects found themselves working for the victors and their war-time research formed a foundation for subsequent programs.

This program highlights many of the lesser-known missiles developed and/or tested at Peenemünde and details their impact on weapons projects of the early Cold War era.

Greg Kennedy is the former director of education at NASTAR Center, a leading provider of spaceflight training for commercial vehicles, in Southampton, PA. Previously, he was associate curator for manned spaceflight at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC; director of the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas; founding director of the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum in Fort Worth; executive director of the Space Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico; executive director of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum in Liberal, Kansas; and executive director of the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Kennedy is also an aerospace historian whose books include Touching Space: The Story of Project ManhighApollo to the MoonThe First Men in SpaceRockets and Missiles of White Sands Proving Ground, and Vengeance Weapon Two: Germany’s V-2 Rocket. He was also a co-author of The Space Shuttle Operator’s Manual and Rockets, Missiles, and Spacecraft of the National Air and Space Museum.

Date

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Times

7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Location

The Fuge, 780 Falcon Circle, Warminster, PA 18974