Kurt H. Debus

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Dr. Kurt H. Debus, Director, Kennedy Space Center, was responsible for many state of the art advances made in launch technology and was the conceptual architect of the Kennedy Space Center with its mobile facilities suitable for handling extremely large rockets such as the Saturn V. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1908, he attended Darmstadt University where he earned his initial and advanced degrees in mechanical engineering. In 1939, he obtained his engineering doctorate and was appointed assistant professor at the University. During this period he became engaged in the rocket research program at Peenemunde. Dr. Debus came to the United States in 1945 and played an active role in the U.S. Army’s ballistic missile development program. In 1960, he was appointed Director of the Launch Operations Directorate, George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA, at Cape Canaveral. He was appointed to the post of Director at KSC in 1962. He brought into being the government/ industry launch force which carried out more than 150 successful launches before 1969, including those of Explorer I, the USA's first satellite, the first manned launch and the Apollo 8 flight, first manned orbit of the moon.

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