There were numerous german rocket scientists at NASA, see wikipedia 1, 2.

They were used to the metric system which they used when working for the V-2 at Penemünde. But what unit system did they use when working for NASA? Did they calculate using metric units at first and converting the results to non metric units later?

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    $\begingroup$ In his 1948 novel The Mars Project it's all metric (see lengthy calculation section in the back). But not sure about at work. wlym.com/archive/oakland/docs/MarsProject.pdf $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2019 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ Between WWII and NASA, the German scientists worked for the U.S. Army, first flying modified V2s, and later designing new missiles. As time progressed, they taught American engineers, and the Germans basically became managers. So by the time NASA was conceived, most calculations were already being done by American engineers. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Jul 25, 2019 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ But what about Jesco von Puttkamer? He did not work for V-2 and joined NASA in 1962. His supervisor at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama was Ernst Geissler. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jul 25, 2019 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


Everything I've seen from Mercury to Apollo has been in imperial units but that doesn't mean they used metric and converted it all over before handing it over. There is a pretty good article here that talks about the Apollo guidance computer. The computer was programed to use SI units, which is basically metric with a new name, but everything entered into it and outputted from it was in imperial, like in good American fashion. NASA still technically didn't switch to metric for future mission until 2007 (source) so SLS/Artemis will be the first fully metric US missions for NASA.

  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2019 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ Was any german rocket engineer involved in programming the Apollo guidance computer? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jul 25, 2019 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure about that. This was really the best I could find. Obviously the germans used metrics when they were under the Nazi's cause that was their national measurement unit and the NACA/NASA and all its contractors used imperial cause it was there but I didn't find any testimonies from German scientist coming over and switching. It's a hard question that I will definitely keep looking into for you, so sorry for the vague answer. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2019 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ @BigMoneySeth a lot of this ground has already been covered in this earlier question: space.stackexchange.com/questions/37607/… This particular question is asking for a much more detailed answer. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2019 at 16:02

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