Monday, February 23, 2009

Few of von Braun's team are left to tell the story

The Huntsville Times

Archivists work to save papers and recordings

Even rocket men can't outrace the clock.

With the passing of Konrad Dannenberg last week, only a few members of Wernher von Braun's original team of German rocket scientists are still alive.

Hans Fichtner, Dieter Grau, Heinz Hilten, Oscar Holderer and Walter Jacobi are now approaching 100. But at the end of World War II, they were among the 118 young men developing the German rocket program who surrendered to the U.S. Army in "Operation Paperclip."

They came to work in the United States missile program and, later, helped make Huntsville the Rocket City.

The accomplishments of the von Braun team members here - especially the landing of man on the moon - will live on as part of history. Their individual achievements are also recorded in the thousands of patents they were awarded and technical articles they published over the decades.

And librarians and historians in Huntsville are working to make sure the papers, photographs, recordings and memories of these space pioneers and their years of work here, at the nucleus of the U.S. space program, are available for the generations to come.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the well-known home of many von Braun manuscripts and mementos, but archivist Irene Willhite said the center has also been collecting material from members of his team.

Read the story HERE.

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