The V-2 was launched by Germany against its enemies in WWII and was a ballistic missile of relatively short range, but it foreshadowed the development of a larger liquid propellant rocket engine that was the predecessor of more powerful rocket engines developed for modern space flight. Much of the basic theory used by German scientists in the development of the engine for the V-2 came from experimentation by Dr. Robert Goddard in the United States. Post-war American liquid fueled rocket engines evolved directly from the German engine that powered the V-2 weapon. Thus it was that the engines eventually used in U.S. Air Force space boosters owed much to the V-2 engine and the improvements that followed.
In February 1949 an American WAC Corporal second stage rocket carried atop a modified V-2 booster sent a payload 250 miles into the vacuum of space on a short suborbital flight. Mankind had taken its first real step into space.