Posted 11/25/2009 12:28 am
The Soviets had solved the major theoretical and practical problems long before WWII. The US -- even though it developed nukes -- was starting at zero at the end of the war. Why? Were they just considered unimportant? Not feasible?
oh wait, the US and Russia divided up half the scientists after the war.
Actually, the reason is that rockets were not a strategic weapon until the cold war w/USSR, because the Nazi's intended on using them against the UK (wiki V3, the nazi's almost answer to hitting London around the clock from France)
The US took all the scientists; the Soviets hired a bunch of technicians. They didn't benefit a lot -- the guidance system was the only major thing. Their own designs quickly surpassed the V2 even though they did laboriously recreate some V2s.
The US, meanwhile, had no program, no theory, no knowledge. They were literally starting fresh with their nazis.
Um, no, the US didn't take all the scientists, it's been proven in declassified documents and in countless documentaries and movies that Russia and the US divided them up, however the US did get first pick.
The US had a nuclear propulsion system (project: orion) which was nuclear, however it was after the war.
There was no need for rockets in the US, so your point is..well..pointless. So what.
No von braun and his chosen two hundred travelled first to Mittelwork and then surrendered more or less en bloc to the americans, who evacuated them by train before handing it over. the us also took all the drawings -- tons of them.
And of course rockets were important, as the sepps belatedley realized or they wouldn't have bothered with the distasteful task of patriating an SS baron and his nazi weapons designers.
Robert Hutchings Goddard (October 5, 1882 – August 10, 1945), U.S. professor of physics and scientist, was a pioneer of controlled, liquid-fueled rocketry. He launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket on March 16, 1926. From 1930 to 1935, he launched rockets that attained speeds of up to 885 km/h (550 mph). Though his work in the field was revolutionary, he was sometimes ridiculed for his theories.
In 1919, the Smithsonian Institution published Goddard's groundbreaking work, A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. The report describes Goddard's mathematical theories of rocket flight, his experiments with solid-fuel rockets, and the possibilities he saw of exploring the earth's atmosphere and beyond. Along with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's earlier work, The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices (1903), Goddard's little book is regarded as one of the pioneering works of the science of rocketry. It was distributed worldwide and is believed to have influenced the work of subsequent pioneers such as Hermann Oberth and Wernher von Braun in Germany and Sergey Korolev in the USSR.
sadly, not many have. von braun himself considered goddard to be the father of modern rocketry, and yet very few people have ever heard his name. quite sad when you think about it. he deserves to be every bit as famous as the wright brothers, or robert oppenheimer.
After a thorough inspection Goddard was convinced that the Germans had "stolen" his work. Though the design details were not the same, the basic design of the V-2 was similar to one of Goddard's rockets. The V-2, however, was technically far more advanced than the most successful of the rockets designed and tested by Goddard. The Peenemünde rocket group led by Wernher von Braun may have benefited from the pre-1939 contacts to a limited extent, but had also started from the work of their own space pioneer, Hermann Oberth; they also had the benefit of intensive state funding as a war project, large-scale production facilities (using slave labor), and repeated flight testing that allowed them to refine their designs. But it's crucial Goddard design lacks a turbopump and veil cooling only with this was it possible to build a order of magnitude greater reliable rocket engines as that was Goddard was capable. 
Nonetheless, in 1963, von Braun, reflecting on the history of rocketry, said of Goddard: "His rockets...may have been rather crude by present-day standards, but they blazed the trail and incorporated many features used in our most modern rockets and space vehicles".
Posted 11/25/2009 2:42 am
von Braun made an interesting comment about rocket design: " you must blow up ten thousand rockets before you finally will be able to make one fly" Something along those lines. Those genius minds made a lot of mistakes before they hit the right formula through sheer perseverance.