Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: NASA
Rudolph, Arthur Louis Hugo (1906-1996) German-American rocket engineer, with Valier in 1931, von Braun from 1934. Planned V-2 production. Program manager for Redstone, Pershing, and the Saturn V. Retired 1970, but named as a war criminal, returned to Germany in 1984.

Rudolph became interested in rocketry during the German space fad of the 1920's. He was hired by the Heylandt company, taking over development of their liquid propellant rocket engine after the explosion of a test engine that killed Max Valier. Rudolph's improved engine powered the Heylandt rocket car in 1931, but public interest had waned, and Rudolph was laid off as the depression cut deep into the German economy. He was brought back under German Army auspices for some mysterious SA contract work. Finally Dornberger hired him to join Von Braun's team in 1934. Rudolph, after severe disputes with Army bureaucrats, managed to get an operable procurement system in place at Kummersdorf in 1934-1937. Rudolph was involved in development of the early A2, A3, and JATO rocket engines at Kummersdorf. He was later a senior manager, involved in the fundamental planning of Peenemuende facilities (sized for the A10 intercontinental missile) and finally in completing and releasing production drawings for the V-2. He was later liaison in establishing production of the V-2 (by slave labor) at Mittelwerke. In 1945 he was moved as part of von Braun's rocket team to Fort Bliss, Texas under Project Paperclip. Under von Braun he was program manager for the Redstone, Pershing, and finally the Saturn V rocket that would take America to the moon. He retired in 1968, having seen the Saturn through development and the first successful manned circumnavigation of the moon. In 1984 he renounced his American citizenship and returned to Germany rather than face trial as a war criminal. He died in Hamburg, Germany.

Birth Place: German.
Born: 1906.11.09.
Died: 1996.01.01.

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Michels, Juergen and Przybilski, Olaf, Peenemuende und seine Erben in Ost und West, Bernard & Graefe, Bonn, 1997.
  • Neufeld, Michael, interviewer, Inteviews with Peenemuende Veterans, National Air and Space Museum archives.
  • Objective List of German and Austrian Scientists, Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, 2 January 1947.

Rudolph Chronology

1961 December 29 - .
  • Shea made Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Office of Manned Space Flight - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea; Rudolph. The appointments of Dr. Joseph F. Shea as Deputy Director for Systems Engineering, Office of Manned Space Flight at NASA Headquarters, and Dr. Arthur Rudolph as Assistant Director of Systems Engineering was announced. Dr. Rudolph would serve as liaison between vehicle development at Marshall Space Flight Center and the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston.

1962 February 13-15 - . LV Family: Saturn I; Saturn V.
  • Technical aspects of earth orbit rendezvous meeting - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Geissler; Rudolph. Program: Apollo. Spacecraft: Gemini. A meeting on the technical aspects of earth orbit rendezvous was held at NASA Headquarters. Representatives from various NASA offices attended: Arthur L. Rudolph, Paul J. DeFries, Fred L. Digesu, Ludie G. Richard, John W. Hardin, Jr., Ernst D. Geissler, and Wilson B. Schramm of Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC); James T. Rose of MSC; Friedrich O. Vonbun, Joseph W. Siry, and James J. Donegan of Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC); Douglas R. Lord, James E. O'Neill, Richard J. Hayes, Warren J. North, and Daniel D. McKee of the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF). Joseph F. Shea, Deputy Director for Systems, OMSF, who had called the meeting, defined in general terms the goal of the meeting: to achieve agreement on the approach to be used in developing the earth orbit rendezvous technique. After two days of discussions and presentations, the Group approved conclusions and recommendations:

    • Gemini rendezvous operations could and must provide substantial experience with rendezvous techniques pertinent to Apollo.
    • Incorporation of the Saturn guidance equipment in a scaled-down docking module for the Agenas in the Gemini program was not required.
    • Complete development of the technique and equipment for Apollo rendezvous and docking should be required before the availability of the Saturn C-5 launch vehicle.
    • Full-scale docking equipment could profitably be developed by three- dimensional ground simulations. MSFC would prepare an outline of such a program.
    • The Apollo rendezvous technique and actual hardware could be flight- tested with the Saturn C-1 launch vehicle. MSFC would prepare a proposed flight test program.
    • The choice of connecting or tanking modes must be made in the near future. The MSFC Orbital Operations Study program should be used to provide data to make this decision.
    • The rendezvous technique which evolved from this meeting would place heavy requirements on the ground tracking network. GSFC should provide data relating the impact of detailed trajectory considerations to ground tracking station requirements.
    (This meeting was part of a continuing effort to select the lunar mission mode.)

1969 January 14 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Arthur Rudolph, special assistant to the MSFC Director, retired - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Rudolph. Program: Apollo. MSFC announced that Arthur Rudolph, special assistant to the MSFC Director, would retire January 31. Rudolph had served as the manager of the Saturn V rocket program from August 1963 to May 1968. He was one of the more than 100 rocket experts who came to the United States from Germany in 1945. The MSC ASPO Manager, in a congratulatory letter said, "I will always consider Saturn V to be one of the outstanding achievements that occurred during my lifetime. Its sheer size is simply fantastic. But even more astounding was its performance in its first flights." Rudolph's work in bringing the nation's most powerful launch vehicle to flight status was rewarded when the first Saturn V lifted off from KSC and performed flawlessly on November 9, 1967, Rudolph's birthday.

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