Rocket scientist, Georg von Tiesenhausen, dies at 104

WAAY 31 spoke with those at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center who knew Tiesenhausen and remember the impact he made on the rocket industry.

Posted: Jun. 6, 2018 6:16 PM
Updated: Jun. 7, 2018 1:00 PM

Many here in Rocket City are remembering a legend.

German scientist and engineer, Doctor Georg von Tiesenhausen, passed away at his Huntsville home on Sunday. He was 104 years old.

WAAY 31 spoke with those at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center who knew Tiesenhausen and remember the impact he made on the rocket industry.

Dr. George von Tiesenhausen was undoubtedly an important figure at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, but those there who knew him say he played an even bigger role for those at space camp.

“The first couple of decades and more, as long as he was able, Dr. Von T came out here and spent time with our students," Pat Ammons said.

Dr. George von Tiesenhausen is known for being a part of Dr. Wehrner von Braun’s moon rocket team at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, but he’ll be remembered for much more than that.

“He was beloved by thousands of students who had the opportunity to just be among one of the greatest engineers in history.”

But even with his tenure, Ammons says Dr. von Tiesenhausen treated the campers as friends.

“Talked to them about astronomy, about rocket propulsion, about engineering, and all the things he helped contribute to help put america on the moon," she said.

In fact, Tiesenhausen was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame and was presented with a lifetime achievement award in 2011 for those contributions.

“I think it speaks volumes to know the person who happily came to present that award to him was Neil Armstrong—the first man on the moon, a man who made very few public appearances," Ammons said.

That’s because Tiesenhuasen played a big role in the lunar rover program, the development of the Saturn V, and the launching of the first U.S. satellite and the first U.S. astronauts.

But he didn’t stop there.

“He continued to work well beyond what most people consider retirement age, and I think it was because he loved the work and loved sharing his knowledge," Ammons said.

And those at the rocket center say, in his memory, they will work to spread that love for space and rocket science.

“We certainly mourn his passing, but we celebrate an incredibly long and productive life filled with so much, and a life that was spent giving back to so many people," Ammons said.

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