Death of German-American space pioneer Jesco von Puttkamer

Jesco von Puttkamer at ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
31 December 2012

Statement by Thomas Reiter, ESA Director for Human Spaceflight and Operations: We mourn the sudden death of Jesco von Puttkamer. He was an outstanding space pioneer and took part in humankinds’ most important space exploration endeavours such as the Apollo, Shuttle and International Space Station programmes. 

Jesco's technical expertise, strong vision and enthusiasm for space exploration will always be remembered. After the recent departure of space legend Neil Armstrong, the death of Jesco von Puttkamer is another sad loss to the space community in Germany, Europe, USA and well beyond.

Jesco was always a fervent supporter of ESA-NASA and German-American cooperation in space. He conveyed his lifetime experience and vision to generations of engineers, scientists and students. To the end, Jesco did this through academic teaching, enthusiastic presentations and book publications.

I remember him as a good friend after our discussions in the context of my Euromir mission to the Russian space station Mir in 1996. We had several contacts after the Astrolab mission to the International Space Station when we exchanged views on operations and science in low Earth orbit.

Jesco von Puttkamer

In October 2012, Jesco visited our Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where he conveyed once again his passion about human spaceflight and exploration to experts and the general public. Only a few weeks ago, I communicated with Jesco on the future of human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit, on lunar missions and on NASA-ESA cooperation in the context of the Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle Orion for which ESA will build the Service Module.

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