On the 3rd of June, the space community bade farewell to Georg von Tiesenhausen, mathematician, rocket scientist and the last surviving member of Wernher von Braun’s V2 research team. Von Tiesenhausen’s work was crucial to the space race, the Latvia-born scientist having been credited with the design of the Lunar Rover among others.
Georg von Tiesenhausen Called a Rare and Dying Breed by Neil Armstrong
Little is known about von Tiesenhausen’s early life. Born on the 18th of May 1914 in Latvia, which at that time was part of the Russian Empire, the man who was to become von Braun’s right-hand man had heard the calling of science ever since he was a young lad.
His undying passion for sciences led him to pursue a career in engineering. Historical documents reveal that Georg von Tiesenhausen studied engineering at Hamburg University.
Regrettably, as Hitler’s war machine grew more and more bloodthirsty, von Tiesenhausen would find himself conscripted into the regular army (Wehrmacht). In 1941, after indoctrination and army training, von Tiesenhausen was shipped to the Eastern Front.
Unfortunately, no one knows what happened to the rocket scientist between his conscription in 1941 and 1943, the year he graduated from Hamburg University.
During the war, von Tiesenhausen worked side-by-side with Wernher von Braun on the V2 project at the Peenemunde Army Research Center.
After the war ended, Georg von Tiesenhausen was recruited by the American Army as part of Operation Paperclip.
Until the day he hanged up his shingle, von Braun’s right-hand man worked at NASA.
As a scientist, Georg von Tiesenhausen is credited with the Lunar Rover vehicle and his outstanding contribution in the Apollo program. His expertise in ballistics made him a valuable asset to the US Army.
In 2011, von Tiesenhausen received the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Education. More than that, the award was handed by none other than Neil Armstrong who called Dr. von T. a “rare individual who has a natural ability to inform and inspire.”
Image source: Wikipedia