Rocket Pioneers, Schemers and Dreamers!

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Apollo 09 David Scott podczas lotu Apollo 9 GPN-2000-001100.jpg This article is a Historical Essay
Written and submitted by
[[Grady Woodard]].

Grady’s Space Chronicles

Rocket Pioneers, Schemers and Dreamers!

Space pioneer Hermann Oberth was one of the most significant rocketry pioneers of the 20th-century, by birth a Romanian but by nationality a German. Born on June 25, 1894, in Hermannstadt, Romania, Oberth's theories into practical space vehicles started German rocket clubs all over Germany as hardcore rocket enthusiasts tried to translate Oberth's theories into practical space vehicles. The most important of these clubs was the Verein fur Raumschiffarht (Rocket Society) or the "Society for Space Travel." Oberth became something of a godfather for the VfR during the 1920s, encouraging the efforts of the young Wernher von Braun, who developed the V-2 rocket.

Oberth was the dreamer that fueled the Rocket Societies that scientists joined and all were the pioneers and schemers for interplanetary space travel. The hotbed of rocketry was Germany. The Group served the Germany Army at Peenemuende during World War II. After the war, spent time in Britain, then the U.S. Army recruited as many as possible for V-2 rocket work at Ft. Bliss, Texas. This Group had always schemed to get support funding in developing rockets for their dreams of interplanetary space travel. Building weapons of War helped by providing that funding.

After his transfer to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama in April 1950, von Braun was appointed Director of Development Operations. Dr. von Braun invited Oberth to work for him on his program. On 1 July 1960, his team were transferred to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. Hermann Oberth died December 29, 1989, in a hospital in Nuremberg, West Germany. This is the listing of the original group’s arrival with the addition of where they worked and what their jobs were after leaving Ft. Bliss, Texas. Many more were recruited at Redstone. The Group’s dream came true, man did travel in space to the moon and did interplanetary probes.

All of us who worked in the Mercury and Apollo Programs with these Rocket Pioneers, Schemers and Dreamers, were most fortunate. To be part of a program that has been ranked by all Americans as the greatest peacetime achievement of mankind in the last one hundred years, in putting a man on the moon! To build seventeen Saturn 5 rockets, the world’s largest in history and all performed well without failure, is an awesome record!

All had moved to the United States around 1945 when Wernher von Braun and the 118 members of his rocket team emigrated from Germany to Redstone Arsenal Alabama. I’m so grateful to have been be picked to work with these great scientists and project.

Rocket Pioneers, Schemers and Dreamers: Groups= (1) SS Argentina arrived 11/16/1945, (2) Victory Ship Central Falls arrived 2/3/1946, (3) USS Florence Nightingale on 4/8/1946, (4) Was at Fort Bliss in January 1947, (5) Scientists recruited to other US locations like Wright Field. (6) Arrive at Newcastle Army Field on September 18, 1945. Total First Arrivals=131.

  • = Names of the "Original 118 Team" at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama

List shows names after Ft. Bliss with their reference work location and building number, from Redstone-Army Missile Command Roster - June 1966, MSFC 1960-1967 Charts, Organization Roster - June 1967, Organization Codes, I=Industrial(Contracts), R=R&D, ASTR=Astrionics, AERO= Astrodynamics, P&VE=Propulsion & Vehicle Engineering, TEST= Test Firing, COMP=Computer, ME=Manufacturing Engineering, QUAL=Quality Inspection, Others Noted or Unknown:

Names - Locations - Status:

  • Angele, Wilhelm - Group(4) MSFC R-ASTR-P Prototype Development 4487
  • Axster, Dr. Herbert - Group(1) Redstone Army - Guided Missiles - Died in Germany
  • Ball, Erich K. - Group(1) MSFC R-TEST-SA Chief, Test Support 4453
  • Bauschinger, Oskar - Group(1) Returned to Germany
  • Bedurftig, Hermann M. - Group(1) Army-MSFC Mechanical Systems
  • Beichel, Rudolf - Group(1) - Moved to Aerojet
  • Beier, Anton - Group(1) Army-MSFC - Died at Huntsville 9-12-1960
  • Bergeler, Herbert R. - Group(1) MSFC R-P&VE-PE 4619
  • Boehm, Josef - Group(4) MSFC R-ASTR-M Electro-Mechanical 4487
  • Bruenecke, Gerhardt - Group(4) Returned to Germany
  • Buchhold, Dr. Theodor - Group(4) Returned to Germany
  • Burose, Walter - Group(4) Army-MSFC, Died at Huntsville 4-22-1983
  • Dahm, Werner K. - Group(5) MSFC R-AERO-A Aerodynamics 4200
  • Dannenberg, Konrad K. - Group(1) MSFC R-S Technical Assistant R&D 4200
  • De Beek, Gerd W. - Group(1) MSFC MS-G Graphics Engineering 4471
  • Debus, Dr. Kurt - Group(4) KSC DIR Director, Launch Operations
  • Deppe, Kurt - Group(5) Returned to Germany
  • Dhom, Friedrich - Group(4) MSFC I-IB-E - Moved from private sector in USA
  • Dobrick, Herbert - Group(4) Returned to Germany
  • Dornberger, Walter - Group(5) Redstone Visit - Bell Aircraft - Returned to Germany
  • Drawe, Gerhard P. - Group(1) MSFC R-ASTR-R Applied Research 4487
  • Duerr, Friedrich - Group(1) MSFC I-V-IU Saturn 5 Mgr. Instrument Unit 4201
  • Eckert, Ernst - Group(5) USAF - Wright-Patterson Field - Joined The Univerity of Minnesota
  • Ehricke, Kraft - Group(5) Redstone - Army Aeronautical - Joined Bell Aircraft
  • Eisenhardt, Otto K. - Group(1) MSFC R-ME-D Director, Development 4712
  • Fichtner, Hans J. - Group(1) MSFC R-ASTR-E Electrical Integration 4487
  • Finzel, Alfred J. - Group(1) MSFC I-DIR Staff to Director, Industrial Operations 4201
  • Fischel, Dr. Edward - group(4) Returned to Germany
  • Fleischer, Karl - Group(1) Returned to Germany
  • Friedrich, Dr. Hans - Group(4) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Friedrich Michael - Group(6) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Fuhrmann, Herbert - Group(1) MSFC R-P&VE-PM Mechanical Systems 4610
  • Geissler, Dr. Ernst - Group(1) MSFC R-AERO-DIR Aero-Astrodynamics Lab 4200
  • Gengelbach, Werner - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Grau, Dieter E. MSFC R-QUAL-DIR Director, Quality Lab 4708
  • Gruene, Dr. Hans F. - Group(1) MSFC JA 4200, KSC-Director Launch Operations
  • Guendel, Herbert - Group(4) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Gustav, Johann - Group(4)- Ft. Bliss, Moved to private sector in USA - Returned to Germany
  • Hager, Dr. Carl - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Haukohl, Guenther H. - Group(1) MSFC R-TEST-CV 4666 Returned to Germany
  • Häussermann, Walter - Group(4) MSFC R-ASTR-DIR Astrionics Lab 4487
  • Heimburg, Karl L. MSFC R-TEST-DIR Test Division 4666
  • Hellebrand, Emil A. H. - Group(1) MSFC R-P&VE-DIR Propulsion & Vehicles 4610
  • Heller, Gerhard - Group(4) MSFC R-RP Experiments Research 4481
  • Helm, Bruno K. - Group(1) MSFC R-ME-DA Assembly Development Shops 4755
  • Henning, Alfred H. - Group(4) Army Deputy Director Weapons Office
  • Heusinger, Bruno K. - Group(1) MSFC R-P&VE-P Propulsion Division 4610
  • Hintze, Guenther - Group(4) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Hirschler, Otto H. - Group(1) Army- Missile Com. R&D/MSFC
  • Hoberg, Otto A. - Group(1) MSFC R-ASTR-I Instrumentations 4487
  • Hoelker, Dr. Rudolf - Group(1) Army-MSFC Deputy, Aeroballistics
  • Hoelzer, Helmut - Group(4) MSFC R-COMP Computer Lab 4663
  • Holderer, Oscar C. - Group(1) MSFC R-AERO-A Aerophysics 4200
  • Horn, Helmut - Group(1) MSFC R-AERO-D Flight Mechanics 4200
  • Hosenthien, Hans H. - Group(1) MSFC R-ASTR-F Flight Test 4487
  • Hueter, Hans W. - Group(1) MSFC I-DIR Deputy, Industrial Operations 4200
  • Huzel, Dieter K. F. - Group( 2) KSC (1962). Cape Canaveral -Moved from Rocketdyne
  • Jacobi, Walter W. - Group(1) MSFC R-P&VE-VD Chief, Systems Operations 4610
  • Jungert, Wilhelm - Group(6) Returned to Germany
  • Kaschig, Erich K. - Group(1) Army-MSFC - Died at Huntsville 9-9-1988
  • Klauss, Ernst K. - Group(1) MSFC R-QUAL-J Sr. Engineer, Quality Lab 4708
  • Klein, Johann - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Kroll, Gustav A. - Group(4) MSFC R-P&VE-S Structures Design 4610
  • Kuers, Werner R. - Group(1) MSFC R-ME-DIR Manufacturing Lab 4712
  • Kurzweg, Hermann - Group(5) Naval Ordnance Lab.- NASA Headquarters D.C.
  • Lange, Hermann - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Lindenberg, Hans - Group(3) MSFC R-AERO-F Flight Test 4200
  • Lindenmayr, Hans J. - Group(1) MSFC R-AERO-F 4484 Returned to Germany
  • Lindner, Kurt - Group(1) Redstone Army - Returned to Germany
  • Leuhersen, Hannes Mandel, - Group(4) MSFC F&D-CH 4200 Returned to Germany
  • Mandel, Carl Heinz - Group(4) MSFC R-ASTR-G Gyros 4487
  • Maus, Hans H. - Group(4) MSFC E-DIR Director, Executive Staff 4200
  • Merk, Helmut - Group(1) Redstone Army - MSFC Rail Technology
  • Michel, Dr. Joseph - Group(1) Redstone Army - Returned to Germany
  • Milde, Hans W. - Group(4) MSFC R-ASTR-GDA Design Section 4487
  • Millinger, Heinz - Group(4) Redstone Army - Returned to Germany
  • Minning, Rudolf - Group(4) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Mrazek, Dr. William - Group(4) MSFC I-DIR Assistant Director Industrial Ops. 4201
  • Muehlner, Dr. Joachim W.- Group(4) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Mueller, Dr. Fritz - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Neubert, Erich W. - Group(6) MSFC DEP-T Associate Technical Director 4200
  • Neuhoefer, Kurt - Group(4) - Redstone, Private sector in USA Died in Huntsville
  • Novak, Max E. - Group(1) MSFC R-ME-A Chief, Assembly 4712
  • Oberth, Hermann - Group(5) Redstone, Army-July 5,1955, to November,1958
  • Paetz, Robert - Group(4) MSFC I-V-SIC Saturn 5 Stage Manager 4201. Died in Huntsville.
  • Palaoro, Hans R. - Group(4) MSFC R-P&VE-DIR Vehicle Engineering 4610
  • Patt, Kurt E. - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Paul, Hans G. - Group(1) MSFC R-P&VE-P Chief, Propulsion Division 4610
  • Poppel, Theodor A. - Group(6) KSC - Launch Facility - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Rees, Dr. Eberhard - Group(4) MSFC DEP-T Deputy Director Technical 4200
  • Reisig, Gerhard H. - Group(4) Army-MSFC Engineering Physics - Retired in Huntsville
  • Riedel, Walther Johannes - Group(4) Redstone Army - Moved to Rocketdyne
  • Rickhey George - Group(5) Army - Edgewood Arsenal Chemicals Division
  • Rosinski, Werner K. - Group(4) MSFC R-ASTR-ESE Electrical Equipment 4492
  • Roth, Ludwig - Group(1) (V-1 Rocket) - Redstone- Douglas Aircraft S-IVB Stage
  • Rothe, Heinrich C. - Group(4) - Army-MSFC-Moved to private sector in USA
  • Rudolf, Hermann - Group(1) USAF Wright Field - Hercules Solid Rockets
  • Rudolph, Dr. Arthur - Group(4) MSFC I-V-MGR 4201 Returned to Germany
  • Scheufelen, Klaus Eduard - Group(1) Redstone - Army
  • Schilling, Dr. Martin - Group(1) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Schlidt, Rudolf Karl Hans - Group(1) Redstone - Army
  • Schlitt, Dr. Helmuth - Group(1) - Redstone Army - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Schmidt, Helmut Heinrich - Group(1) Army-MSFC- Returned to Germany
  • Schnarowski, Heinz Ludwig - Group(1) Returned to Germany
  • Schuler, Albert E. - Group(1) MSFC R-TEST-ID Chief, Instrumentation 4650
  • Schulze, William A. - Group(6) MSFC R-P&VE-V Vehicle Systems 4610
  • Schwarz, Friedrich - group(4) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Schwidetzky, Dr. Walter Hans - Group(6) - Moved to private sector in USA
  • Sendler, Karl - Group(1) KSC DIR - Instrumentation-Moved to private sector in USA
  • Sieber, Dr. Werner - Group(4) MSFC R-TEST-I Chief, Test Instrument Controls 4566
  • Spohn, Eberhard Julius - Group(4) Returned to Germany
  • Steinhoff, Dr. Ernst - Group(1) Moved to private sector in USA
  • Steuer, Dr. Wolfgang - Group(1) Moved to private sector in USA
  • Stuhlinger, Dr. Ernst - Group(2) MSFC R-RP Director, Research Projects 4481
  • Tessmann, Bernhard - Group(1) MSFC R-TEST-DIR Deputy Director 4666
  • Thiel, Dr. Adolf K. - Group(4) Moved to private sector in USA
  • Tiller, Werner G. - Group(4)MSFC R-QUAL-DIR Assist. Quality Lab 4708
  • Tschinkel, Dr. Johann G. - Group(1) Redstone - Army
  • Urbanski, Arthur - Group(1) MSFC R-QUAL-M Mechanical Analysis 4708
  • Vandersee, Fritz - Group(1) MSFC R-TEST-BS Test Shop 4650
  • Von Braun, Magnus-Group(1) Redstone-Chemicals-Moved to private sector USA
  • Von Braun, Dr. Wernher - Group(6) MSFC DIR Director of MSFC 4200
  • Voss, Werner E. - Group(4) MSFC R-P&VE-PM Propulsion Mechanics 4610
  • Vowe, Theodor K. - Group(4) Redstone Army-MSFC- Dies in Huntsville 6-7-1989
  • Wagner, Karl - Group(4) Redstone - Army Physical Chemist
  • Weidner, Dr. Hermann - Group(4) MSFC R-DIR Director, R&D 4200
  • Wiesman, Walter F. - Group(4) MSFC MA-S 4202 Manpower Administration
  • Wittmann, Albin E. - Group(4) MSFC R-QUAL-T Electrical Analysis 4708
  • Woerdemann, Hugo - Group(1) Army-MSFC, to Ramco-Woolridge d.6-24-1999 Cal.
  • Zeiler, Albert - Group(4) MSFC/KSC Launch Ops. 4200 - To private sector USA
  • Zoike, Helmut - Group(4) Redstone Arsenal - Moved to private sector in USA

First Arrivals: Deceased prior to 1965 (8) = Beir, Burose, Friedrich, Henning, Lindenberg, Lindner, Scharnowski and Schwarz. Returned to Germany before 1965 (17) = Boehm, De Beek, Heller, Heusinger, Mandel, Minning, Neuhoefer, Palaoro, Patt, Roth, Rothe, Schlidt, Schlitt, Schwidetzky, Steurer, Tiller and Vandersee.

More that 6.000 of the Germans rocket scientists went to Russia loved the Russian country and its people. However, living conditions were not what they had been used to in Germany. As such, the ones that survived, returned to their country of birth. Later, 8 of the 12 German scientists that came to Point Mugu, CA to the Naval Air Missile Test Center in 1947 under "Operation Paperclip" were Wilfried H. Hell, Dr. Herbert A. Wagner, W. Hohenner, Edgar W. Kutzscher, Reinhard N. Lahde, Dr. Ernst O.H. Friedrich, Dr. Hans E. Hollmann, Theodore Sturm, Robert Lusser, Willy Fiedler and Otto Schwede.