6
$\begingroup$

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?

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ 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 $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 24 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ 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 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 at 8:04
0
$\begingroup$

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.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 25 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ Was any german rocket engineer involved in programming the Apollo guidance computer? $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jul 25 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. $\endgroup$ – SCLA Seth Kurkowski Jul 25 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. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Jul 25 at 16:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.