Legendary Jesco von Puttkamer passed on Friday. As I was getting ready for work this morning, I remembered writing a blogpost about him back in 2010. We had shared the stage together on the “Future Directions” panel at the International Space University’s “Public Face of Space” Symposium in Strasbourg, France. After his talk, I saw Jesco in a new light. To honor his passing, I want to share what I wrote about him. I wish I could capture the twinkle in his eyes as he talked about his dream for Mars.
I like to think of Jesco as the Forest Gump of space — always right on the fringes of every historical space moment. I’d never caught his passion before. Jesco’s presentation took us back to his years at the Marshall Space Flight Center, the very center of the space universe, the birthplace of all things space — until, that is, we learned the Soviet Union had their own space Capitol where they worked as feverishly as the Von Braun team to be #1 in space. The point of his talk: we can’t go forward without understanding where we’re coming from.
Read more: Rocket Man Dreams of Mars
You can also read the NASA web feature on Jesco from last Friday.
I hope you’re soaring in the stars now, Jesco. We’ll miss your iconic presence at NASA.