3 Rocket Scientists Die
Jul. 13, 1998
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Three members of the dwindling ranks of Wernher von Braun's World War II German rocket team, which after the war helped put Americans on the moon, died days apart.
Max Nowak, 89, Heinrich Paetz, 88, and Albert Schuler, 83, were original members of von Braun's team of engineers who developed the V-1 and V-2 rockets that Nazi Germany used against Great Britain.
After the war, they came to the United States under contract to the Army and worked on the U.S. rocket and space program, eventually for NASA.
``They were all three highly respected for their capability and their knowledge,'' said Ernst Stuhlinger, von Braun's chief scientist.
Nowak, who resided in Huntsville, died Tuesday. Paetz, a resident of Grant, died Thursday; Schuler of Huntsville died Friday. All three died of natural causes.
Von Braun died in 1977.
Nowak, among the first members of von Braun's team to move to the United States, was assistant to the director of the manufacturing engineering lab during the Apollo program, said Konrad Dannenberg, a propulsion engineer for von Braun.
Nowak directed assembly of systems for the Saturn 1 nose cones and Saturn V launch systems.
Paetz participated in the Redstone, Jupiter, Saturn 1 and Saturn V programs before retiring from NASA in 1970. Schuler oversaw instrumentation on static firings and guidance and control on rocket flights. He retired in 1969.
Thirty to 40 members of the original von Braun team of 127 scientists are still living, Stuhlinger and Dannenberg estimated. About a dozen live in Huntsville, home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Army's Redstone Arsenal. The rest are scattered around the country.
Regular reunions of the team have become a thing of the past.
``Sadly enough, we meet each other at funerals,'' Stuhlinger said.
Only one member of von Braun's U.S. team _ Arthur Rudolph _ was ever charged with Nazi war crimes, according to Eli Rosenbaum, who directed the Justice Department's case against the him. Rudolph died in Germany in 1996 after renouncing his U.S. citizenship and leaving the country rather than fight the charges, which he disputed.
The accusations against Rudolph involved forced labor at a Nazi rocket factory at Mittelwerk, Germany.
Dannenberg recalled that Paetz was chief of the electrical section at Peenemuende, the Nazi rocket research center on the Baltic, and helped develop the V-2 and an antiaircraft missile.
Details on work done by Nowak and Schuler in developing the V-1 and V-2 were not immediately available.