Helmut Hölzer

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Helmut Hölzer (English: Hoelzer)
HolzerHelmut Huntsville.jpg
Helmut Hölzer in Huntsville, Alabama
Born (1912-02-27)February 27, 1912
Bad Liebenstein, Thüringen, German Empire
Died October 12, 1996(1996-10-12) (aged 84)
Huntsville, Alabama, United States
Fields Electrical Engineering,[1] Applied mathematics

1933-tbd: teaching
1939: Telefunken (Berlin)
1939-1945: Peenemünde
1940's-1950's: Fort Bliss/WSPG
1950's-1950's: Redstone Arsenal
1950's-1960's: ABMA

1960-1970's: Marshall Space Flight Center (Director, Computation Division)[2]
Alma mater Darmstadt
Known for Designing an electronic simulator for the V-2 rocket control system.[3][4]

Helmut Hoelzer[5] was a Nazi Germany V-2 rocket engineer who was brought to the United States under Operation Paperclip.


In October 1939, while working for the Telefunken electronics firm in Berlin, Hoelzer met with Ernst Steinhoff,[6] Hermann Steuding, and Wernher von Braun regarding guide beams for a flying body.[Neufeld 1] In late 1940 at Peenemünde, Hoelzer was head of the guide beam division[Neufeld 2] (assistant Henry Otto Hirschler[7]), which developed a guide-plane system which alternates a transmitted signal from two antennas a short distance apart, as well as a vacuum tube mixing device (German: Mischgerät)[8] which corrected for momentum that would perturb an object that had been moved back on-track.[Neufeld 3] By the fall of 1941, Hoelzer's "mixing device" was used to provide V-2 rocket rate measurement instead of rate gyros.[Neufeld 4]

Then at the beginning of 1942, Hoelzer built an analog computer to calculate and simulate[7] V-2 rocket trajectories[Neufeld 5][9] Hoelzer's team also developed the Messina telemetry system.[1] After evacuating Peenemünde for the Alpenfestung (Alpine Fortress), Hoelzer returned to Peenemünde via motorcycle to look for portions of his PhD dissertation[5] prior to surrendering to United States forces at the end of World War II.


One of his grandchildren is Olympic swimmer Margaret Hoelzer.


  1. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "Hoelzer". Astronautix. Retrieved October 19, 2008. 
  2. ^ June 6, 1960
  3. ^ Tomayko, James E. "Computers Take Flight: A History of NASA's Pioneering Digital Fly-by-Wire Project" (PDF). p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-07-19. Retrieved October 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ Tomayko, James E. (July 1985). "Helmut Hoelzer's Fully Electronic Analog Computer". Annals of the History of Computing. 7 (3): 227–240. doi:10.1109/mahc.1985.10025. 
  5. ^ a b Ordway, Frederick I, III; Sharpe, Mitchell R (1979). The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series 36. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. pp. 46,294. ISBN 1-894959-00-0. 
  6. ^ Ernst Steinhoff
  7. ^ a b H. Otto Hirschler, 87, Aided Space Program
  8. ^ Ley, Willy (1951) [1944]. Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel (Revised edition 1958). New York: The Viking Press. p. 257. 
  9. ^ http://www.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/MAHC.1985.10025


  • Neufeld, Michael J (1995). The Rocket and the Reich: Peenemünde and the Coming of the Ballistic Missile Era. New York: The Free Press. pp. 104, 106, 107, 140. 
  1. ^ p. 107
  2. ^ p. 140
  3. ^ p. 104
  4. ^ p. 106
  5. ^ p. 106