Washington: The German road to space would have been much clearer, had the Nazis won World War 2.
In the late 1940s and early 50s the writings of German rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun (shown above), who first developed liquid fueled rockets as military weapons, spelled out the strategy he would have used to go beyond Earth, Discovery News reported.
In reality von Braun and much of his rocket team surrendered to the Allies at the end of WWII. He went on to build the Saturn V moon rocket for the Apollo missions.
If a victorious German empire instead emerged from WWII, von Braun might have been able to convince his Nazi overlords to devote exorbitant resources to fulfilling his childhood dream of space conquest. At the least he could have piggybacked on Nazi space militarization.
During WWII German engineers saw a clear advantage to putting weapons into space.
They conceived of a gigantic space mirror, affixed to a space station, which could focus sunlight to incinerate targets as easily as frying an ant under a magnifying glass.
No doubt Earth surveillance from the "high ground" would be developed too.
Free of the messy political seesaw that takes place in democracies, Nazi Germany may have made a long-term commitment to manned expeditions to other planets.
This might have been revered as manifest destiny for the planned "1,000-year Reich."
There would be no U.S.-Soviet style space race because Germany would have knocked out any adversarial emerging superpowers.
The Germans therefore could have methodically taken their time to build up a robust and well-supported space transportation infrastructure.
The first step would have been to develop heavy lift cargo vehicles (which NASA is revisiting now, 40 years after President Richard Nixon killed the Saturn V program).
Super-rockets might be a spinoff from a Nazi military goal of quickly dispatching troops anywhere on the globe via giant suborbital transports.
Just several flights of the mega-boosters would have been needed to construct a huge bicycle-wheel shaped space station.
The 150-foot diameter spinning torus would provide artificial gravity to a crew of 80 astronauts, as imagined by von Braun.
Von Braun saw the station as the staging area for constructing large interplanetary spacecraft that could be massive and not restricted by aerodynamic design needed to ascend from Earth.