Jesco von Puttkamer

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Jesco von Puttkamer
Jesco von Puttkamer at ZDF in 2009
Jesco von Puttkamer at ZDF (2009)
Born Jesco Hans Heinrich Max Freiherr von Puttkamer
(1933-09-22)22 September 1933
Leipzig, Germany
Died 27 December 2012(2012-12-27) (aged 79)
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Citizenship American (1967), German
Education RWTH Aachen University
Occupation Aerospace engineer
Years active 1956–2012
Employer NASA

Jesco Hans Heinrich Max Freiherr von Puttkamer (22 September 1933–27 December 2012) was a German-American aerospace engineer, senior manager at NASA, and a pulp science fiction writer.

He was an advocate of manned space exploration, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).[1] While at NASA, he served as the program manager in charge of long-range planning of deep space manned activities (flights beyond Earth orbit). He was regarded as an expert on the Russian space program.[2]

From 2009 until his death, Puttkamer assisted with daily on-orbit operations, which included the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS).

He was born, in Leipzig, to the German noble Puttkamer family. According to family tradition, each firstborn Puttkamer son is given the forename "Jesco." His nickname, "Jessie," was given to him by DeForest Kelley, whom Puttkammer called "Dee".[3]:xxiv

Puttkamer died of a sudden flu-like illness on 27 December 2012.[1]

Career[edit]

Puttkamer finished high school in Konstanz, and studied mechanical engineering at the Technische Hochschule (RWTH Aachen University) in Aachen. In 1962, Puttkamer left Germany for the United States, where he was recruited into Wernher von Braun's rocket team at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He was a senior engineer on the Apollo program.[4] His supervisor at Marshall was Ernst Geissler.[5]

He was granted United States citizenship in 1967.

Puttkammer was a consultant and technical advisor for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), contributing the hypothetical theory behind the faster-than-light space warp drive, and the wormhole effect featured in the film.[6]

From 1985 to 2000, he lectured at FH Aachen as an Honorary Professor. In 1995, Puttkamer was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy by Saarland University for his pioneering contributions to the understanding of space flight.

From 2004 to 2008, Puttkamer consulted with President George W. Bush during the implementation of the president's Vision for Space Exploration.

Puttkamer said that among his most treasured achievements at NASA were: his contributions to the Apollo program; the lunar landing in 1969, which fulfilled President John F. Kennedy's mandate; and recovering America's experimental space station Skylab after its disastrous launch into orbit on 14 May 1973. He often spoke of "rescuing" the backup Skylab from being scrapped, so it could be publicly displayed in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.[citation needed]

An interview by Jörg Weigand was published in the "Perry Rhodan Journal #90" insert included with Perry Rhodan #2302, in 2005.[7] Puttkamer participated a guest on ZDF's Nachtstudio in 2009. The episode, hosted by Volker Panzer titled "Moonstruck," was a retrospective on German contributions to space exploration, and focused on the Apollo moon landing.[8]

Writing[edit]

Puttkamer was the author of more than a dozen books on space flight. He also wrote many science fiction short stories which were published by German pulp magazines, notably Pabel's Utopia Sonderband (1956–57) and Meowig's Terra and Terra Astra (1960–61). His stories have been reprinted frequently since. He also published several serialized essays from 1964 to 1969 for a number of German magazines.[9]

His stories, originally published in Utopia Sonderband, were collected in Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985) along with six new stories. The collection was released as part of the Utopia Classics series. The story "The Sleeping God" was collected in the anthology Star Trek: The New Voyages 2, along with an introduction by Puttkamer where he explains science fiction, like Star Trek, humanizes space, making it "more understandable for the young in mind."[3]:xxvi

His German-language memoir and essay of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, "Apollo 11: Ausflug in die Mondwelt," was reissued in a Chinese translation in 1982, in Beijing. A revised edition of the essay was included in his book, Abenteuer Apollo 11, released on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

Puttkamer was awarded with numerous accolades while at NASA, among them the Exceptional Service Medal (2004), for outstanding services by a civilian, followed by the NASA Honor Award, for advancing American-Russian cooperation in space flight, in 2007.[2]

In December 2008, Puttkamer was honored with the "Distinguished German-American of the Year" award by the German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA (GAHF).[10]

Bibliography[edit]

The following bibliography is incomplete:

Novels and novellas[edit]

  • Der Unheimliche vom anderen Stern (June 1958), Pabel. Originally published by Dörnersche (1957).
  • Das unsterbliche Universum (24 June 1960), with Clark Carlton, Terra Astra #123 (Meowig). Originally published by Belowa (1959).
  • Galaxis ahoi! (12 August 1960), Terra #131 (Meowig). Originally published by Dörnersche (1959).
  • Das Zeit-Manuskript (15 September 1961), Terra #191 (Meowig). Originally published by Balowa (1960).
  • Die Reise des schlafenden Gottes (19 February 1960), Terra Sonderband #25 (Meowig).
  • Die sechste Phase (27 October 1961), Terra #197 (Meowig). Originally published by Belowa (1961).
  • Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.

Short fiction[edit]

  • "Der integrierende Faktor" (1956) Utoptia Sonderband #2 (Pabel).
  • "Zu jung für die Ewigkeit" (1956) Utopia Sonderband #3 (Pabel).
  • "Wer zuletzt lacht" (1956), Utopia Sonderband #4 (Pabel).
  • "Heldentod" (September 1956) Utopia Sonderband #9 (Pabel).
  • "The Sleeping God," Star Trek: The New Voyages 2 (January 1978), Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, eds., Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-11392-5.
  • "Am Ende der Zukunft," Beteigeuze (June 1981),  Thomas e Blanc, ed., Goldmann (Goldmann SF #23385) ISBN 3-442-23385-2.
  • "Danke für den Tip!," Science Fiction Almanach 1983 (December 1982), H. J. Alpers, ed., Moewig (Moewig SF #3603) ISBN 3-8118-3603-X.
  • "Bestimmung," Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.
  • "Danke für den Tip," Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.
  • "Der Super-Zweikampf," Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.
  • "Hausieren verboten," Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.
  • "Selbst ist der Mann," Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.
  • "Simultanzeit," Elektronengehirne, Wurmlöcher und Weltmodelle (December 1985), Jesco von Puttkamer, ed., Meowig (Utopia Classics #84) ISBN 3-8118-5030-X.

Nonfiction[edit]

  • Apollo 8, Aufbruch ins All (1969), Heyne (Heyne Sachbuch #130).
  • Jahrtausendprojekt Mars: Chance und Schicksal der Menschheit (1996), Langen-Müller ISBN 3-7844-2571-2.
  • Abenteuer Apollo 11: von der Mondlandung zur Erkundung des Mars (22 June 2009), Herbig ISBN 978-3-7766-2616-2.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "NASA's Jesco von Puttkamer Has Died | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference". spaceref.com. 2012-12-28. Retrieved 2017-12-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "Jesco von Puttkamer: 1933-2012". NASA. 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2017-12-26. 
  3. ^ a b von Puttkamer, Jesco (Sep 1979). "Introduction". In Marshak, Sondra; Culbreath, Myrna. Star Trek: The New Voyages 2. New York: Bantam Books (published Jan 1978). ISBN 0-553-11392-5. 
  4. ^ Harris, Kathleen (2009-07-11). "World prepares for 40th anniversary of Apollo 11". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2010-12-25. 
  5. ^ von Puttkamer, Jesco (1985). Der zweite Tag der neuen Welt: d. Raumfahrt auf d. Weg ins 3. Jahrtsd. Frankfurt am Main: Umschau-Verlag. p. 13. ISBN 3-524-69054-8. 
  6. ^ von Puttkamer, Jesco (Apr 1980). Zimmerman, Howard, ed. "The Origin of Star Trek's Wormhole". Starlog. No. 33. Reproduction of original memo by Jesco von Puttkamer. O'Quinn Studios, Inc. ISSN 0191-4626. 
  7. ^ Weigand, Jörg (30 Sep 2005). Frick, Klaus N.; Kasper, Hartmut, eds. "Teuer wird der bemannte Flug immer sein". Perry Rhodan (in German). No. 2302. Perry Rhodan Journal #90, p. 3. Pabel-Moewig. 
  8. ^ Panzer, Volker (5 Jul 2009). "Mondsüchtig - Warum wir nach 40 Jahren wieder hin wollen". Nachstudio (in German). ZDF. 
  9. ^ "Summary Bibliography: Jesco von Puttkamer". ISFDB. Retrieved 2017-12-27. 
  10. ^ "Dr. Jesco von Puttkamer: 2008 Distinguished German-American of the Year" (Macromedia FlashPaper). GermanAmericanPioneers.org. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2012-12-26. 

External links[edit]