Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/03/28

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Re: LUG Digest, Vol 34, Issue 331
From: lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin)
Date: Wed Mar 28 14:29:44 2007
References: <>

On Mar 28, 2007, at 4:06 PM, Marc wrote:

>> I shook the hand of Willy Ley.  Ley shook the
>> hand of Wehrner von Braun.  von Braun shook the
>> hand of Hitler.  I am thus three generations of
>> hand-shakes removed from Adolph Hitler.  Does
>> this make me a Nazi?

This has nothing to do with Leni - or with Hitler for that matter,  
but I worked with Werhner von Braun for a short time during the early  
days of the space program. Just after the Russians had launched their  
first satellite, but before they orbited the dog Laika (Leica?), von  
Braun and the team at the Redstone Arsenal proposed the MISS program  
to put a human into space. MISS was an acronym for Man In Space  
Soonest. The proposal basically consisted of putting a man in a  
capsule fitted to the nose of a Redstone rocket, a medium range ICBM,  
and firing it 100 miles or so into space. When the rocket reached its  
apogee, the "astronaut" would open the hatch of the capsule, step  
out, and parachute back down to earth. As you recall, the Redstone  
launched the first U.S. orbiting satellite. The MISS project had no  
redeeming scientific value. It was just PR.

When I protested that no one would be idiot enough to volunteer to be  
the "astronaut," von Braun assured me that he had several dozen  
volunteers already lined up. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed.  
After the Russians orbited Yuri Gagarin the responsibility for manned  
spaceflight was transferred to NASA and MISS evolved into the Mercury  
program using a modified Atlas booster.

On a personal basis, von Braun was an arrogant SOB and I'm glad I had  
to work with him for only a couple of months.

Larry Z