Dr Ernst Stuhlinger (1913 - 2008)
team at Apogee Books are sad to hear of the passing of Dr Ernst
Stuhlinger. In the summer of 2007 we contracted with Irene Willhite,
curator of the US Space & Rocket Center to bring us a book based on
Dr Stuhlinger's memoires. The book to have been called Claiming the High Ground
has been postponed indefinitely. It was to have been about the
launching of America's space program and specifically the Explorer 1
mission. Dr Stuhlinger was working with Irene and providing
materials until his recent illness.
We are sorry to have lost yet another of the original space pioneers.
(From Wikipedia) Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger (December 19, 1913 - May
25, 2008) was an German atomic, electrical and rocket scientist born in
Niederrimbach, Germany. He earned his Ph.D. in physics at age 23, and
in 1939 went to work for the German Atomic Energy Program. In 1943, he
joined Dr. Wernher von Braun's team at the German village of
Peenemuende, where he worked in the field of guidance systems.
He was one of 126 scientists who immigrated to the United States with
Dr. von Braun after World War II as part of Operation Paperclip. On
April 14, 1955, he became a naturalized United States citizen.
In the 1950s Stuhlinger worked at the Redstone Arsenal, where he
developed designs for solar-powered spacecraft. The most popular of
those designs relied on ion thrusters, which use ionize either caesium
or rubidium vapor and accelerate the positively charged ions through
gridded electrodes. The spacecraft would be powered by the one kilowatt
of radiant energy that falls on each square meter of space from the
sun. He referred to it as a "sunship."
Stuhlinger was director of the space science lab at NASA's Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, from 1960 to 1968, and then
its associate director for science from 1968 to 1975, when he retired
and became an adjunct professor and senior research scientist at the
University of Alabama in Huntsville.
He is considered as one of the pioneers of electric propulsion having,
among many contributions, authored the classic textbook "Ion Propulsion
for Space Flight" (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964). In 2005, he was
honored by the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, and awarded its
"Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Electric Propulsion."
Below is a short video tribute to Dr Stuhlinger and his vision of
humans in space.