Born: 1911-10-20. Died: 1992-02-08. Birth Place: Germany.
Mrazek had been in Peenemuende since the early days, but that had not prevented him from seeing combat on the Russian front. His face was marked by a saber scar. In 1945 he moved with von Braun's team to Fort Bliss, Texas, and then in 1950 to Huntsville, Alabama. By 1960 he was Director, Structures and Mechanics Division, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
When von Braun's team subcontracted development of the Saturn V to aircraft builders, their traditional methods of design and development clashed with those of the American aircraft industry. Mrazek was stubborn in these conflicts - his team after all was the only one in the United States that had built a succession of ever-larger rocket designs. In one memorable fight, North American and Mrazek's organization got into an argument over the magnitude of certain internal loads in the S-II stage of the Saturn V. North American ended up winning the argument after a huge investment of engineering hours on both sides to defend their respective positions. This did not endear North American to Mrazek.
In a memorandum to D. Brainerd Holmes, Director, Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF), Milton W. Rosen, Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion, OMSF, described the organization of a working group to recommend to the Director a large launch vehicle program which would meet the requirements of manned space flight and which would have broad and continuing national utility for other NASA and DOD programs. The group would include members from the NASA Office of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion (Rosen, Chairman, Richard B. Canright, Eldon W. Hall, Elliott Mitchell, Norman Rafel, Melvyn Savage, and Adelbert O. Tischler); from the Marshall Space Flight Center (William A. Mrazek, Hans H. Maus, and James B. Bramlet); and from the NASA Office of Spacecraft and Flight Missions (John H. Disher). (David M. Hammock of MSC was later added to the group.) The principal background material to be used by the group would consist of reports of the Large Launch Vehicle Planning Group (Golovin Committee), the Fleming Committee, the Lundin Committee, the Heaton Committee, and the Debus-Davis Committee. Some of the subjects the group would be considering were:
ASPO Manager George M. Low advised Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips that, in accordance with an action item resulting from the spacecraft environmental testing review at MSFC on January 10, he was reexamining the design, fabrication, and inspection of all interconnecting systems of the spacecraft to determine what further steps might be taken to ensure the integrity of those systems. Low had requested William Mrazek of MSFC to direct this effort, using a small task team to review the design of all spacecraft wiring and plumbing systems, their fabrication, and quality assurance and inspection techniques.
Dale D. Myers, Apollo CSM Program Manager at North American Rockwell, wrote to CSM Manager Kenneth S. Kleinknecht at MSC to apprise him of the company's response to an earlier review of the CSM subsystems development program. During February a small task team from MSFC, headed by William A. Mrazek, had surveyed the design, manufacture, and checkout of several of the spacecraft's subsystems. Findings of the team had been reviewed with Eberhard F. M. Rees, then at Downey as head of the Apollo Special Task Team. Myers sent Kleinknecht briefing notes of a presentation to Rees and others of the special team describing North American's responses to specific issues raised by Mrazek's group. These issues, Myers reported, had been resolved to the satisfaction of both contractor and customer.