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German Pioneer of
Rocketry and Astronautics
Born Hermannstadt, Transylvania
June 25, 1894
Died Nuremberg, Germany*
December 28, 1989*
Although the age of space travel and exploration has been with mankind but a few short years, the foresight and genius of Professor Hermann Oberth championed flight for half a century.
Professor Hermann Oberth received his initial stimulus toward astronautics by reading the great science fiction writers of the 19th century. Although he found school lacking in challenge, he delved deep into science and produced, for his Doctoral Degree at Heidelberg University, a comprehensive thesis on rocket development. It was rejected as farfetched. His dissertation became the now celebrated book The Rocket into Planetary Space published in 1923, in which he recognized and proposed solutions to a very wide spectrum of rocketry and space travel problems. He addressed enormous fuel consumption, the hazards of solid propellants, handling of volatile fuels, and the effects upon the human body. All of this was more than 40 years before space flight became a reality.
Like his proposals for rocket weapons in 1917, his plans for space flight in 1922 fell on deaf ears, forcing his return to teaching and research. It was his theories and writings which were to become a leading inspiration to the German rocket scientists of the 1930's and 1940s, and into the dawn of space flight in the 1960's, when his pioneering genius in this discipline was at last accepted.
This legendary pioneer figure of astronautics, after more than six decades as an advocate of space travel, remains active in writing and consulting on exploration of the Universe, still charting the course of future space conquest.
Invested 1980 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame
From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984
* Since the printing of the book, from which this biography is extracted, the Hermann Oberth Raumfahrt Museum in Feucht, Germany, has informed us of the time and location of Mr. Oberth's death.
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