The Passing of Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger
Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger (at right) in 1999.
I was saddened to learn last night of the death earlier in the day of Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger. Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger was one of the last surviving members of the Peenemuende rocket team that came to America after World War II with Dr. Wernher von Braun (Operation Paperclip).
I had the good fortune to meet and speak with Dr. Stuhlinger on a couple occasions over the years. He was very generous in volunteering to mail me typewritten versions of a couple of his presentations so that I could add them to my Astrodigital web site and publish them in the Chicago Society for Space Studies newsletter Spacewatch which I edited at that time.
In addition to having a Ph.D. in physics, Dr. Stuhlinger's career with NASA included serving as director of the Marshall Space Flight Center space science lab from 1960 to 1968, followed by being the associate director for science from 1968 to 1975, after which he retired from NASA. Dr. Stuhlinger worked on Explorer 1 – America's first successful satellite, part of which I have been told was built in his garage! Dr. Stuhlinger was also a pioneer in the field of electric propulsion and wrote the book Ion Propulsion for Space Flight. In 2005, the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society awarded him their “Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Electric Propulsion.”
Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger
Born: 19 December 1913 in Niederrimbach, Germany
Died: 25 May 2008 in Huntsville AL, USA
Ad Astra Dr. Stuhlinger