Oscar Holderer, one of remaining members of von Braun team, dies

Oscar Holderer, one of remaining members of von Braun team, dies
Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, shown here with Liz Hurley, is now the last surviving member of the original von Braun team.
Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, shown here with Liz Hurley, is now the last surviving member of the original von Braun team.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - You may not be familiar with his name, but his imprint and legacy on the U.S. Space Program and Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are well known.

Oscar Holderer, a humble and modest man, and the last of two remaining original 125 members of the Wernher von Braun German Rocket Team, has died.

Holderer arrived in Huntsville from Peenemuende via Ft. Bliss, Texas, and lived in Northwest Huntsville for many, many years. He was 95.

Holderer was born in Pruenm, Germany and was a degreed mechanical engineer. He served in Peenemuende until 1945 when he arrived at Ft. Bliss as part of Project Paperclip.

In 1969, during the height of the space race to the moon, Holderer was an astrophysicist in the Aero-Astrodynamics Lab, but perhaps will be best known for his design work at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center's Space Camp.

Holderer made it possible for more than half a million Space Campers to learn about space travel through his realistic designs of the trainers modeled after those used by NASA, designs such as the multi-access trainer.

He was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center says, "Oscar Holderer supported the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with his stellar engineering talent from our very beginning. Millions of our visitors 'walked in moon gravity' on his Space Walker simulator in our Rocket Park. As recently as 3 weeks ago, he was still consulting with me on our future plans. Our love, appreciation, and respect for this Space Camp Hall of Fame winner endures beyond his years."

The next time you enter or leave Alabama to our north at the 1-65 Welcome Center, you can give a nod to Holderer. He helped make it possible for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to erect the huge Saturn 1 rocket there.

Holderer's family is receiving friends from 2-3 p.m. on May 8 at Spry Funeral Home at 2411 Memorial Parkway, N.W.

The last remaining team member of the original 125 is Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, who will celebrate his 101st birthday May 18.

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