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In 1943 production of the V-2 rocket began in Germany. In parallel with the German guided-missile programme, rockets were also used on aircraft, either for assisting horizontal take-off (RATO), vertical take-off (Bachem Ba 349 "Natter") or for powering them (Me 163, see list of World War II guided missiles of Germany). The Allies' rocket programs were less technological, relying mostly on unguided missiles like the Soviet Katyusha rocket. The Americans captured a large number of German rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, in 1945, and brought them to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip. After World War II scientists used rockets to study high-altitude conditions, by radio telemetry of temperature and pressure of the atmosphere, detection of cosmic rays, and further techniques; note too the Bell X-1, the first manned vehicle to break the sound barrier (1947). Independently, in the Soviet Union's space program research continued under the leadership of the chief designer Sergei Korolev (1907–1966).

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