Remembering The Orthodox Jew Who Developed Apollo 11’s Trajectories

Orthodox Jewish All Star Gerald (Jerry) Wittenstein passed away last week. He was the CEO of International Space Systems, Inc., a space engineering firm that performs research and development for NASA. Earlier in his career, while at NASA, he generated trajectories for space flights, including the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing mission led by Neal Armstrong. He worked out of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center from 1961-1986, where he served as chief of the Flight Mechanics and the Orbital Analysis Branches. His duties included integration of navigation systems for the Saturn V Instrument Unit, and he was responsible for the guidance systems pre-settings.

Mr. Wittenstein’s substantial space program experience includes assisting in Spacelab design and payload operations both as an Orbit Analysis Engineer and a Payload Activity Planner. His prior work on the Ares program includes supporting the development of Ares flight operations requirements. He received a Bachelors degree in physics from Birmingham Southern and Masters Degrees from University of Alabama, Huntsville in Physics and in Management. Jerry and his wife Carol have four children, as well as a parcel of grandchildren.

Two years ago, Jerry and Carol made Aliyah. The flight attendant on their Delta airplane made an emotional announcement about the Wittensteins, where she was audibly tearing up that this was going to be their last Delta flight. Mr. Wittenstein’s love of space and Torah and the contributions he made to the moon landing, will never be forgotten.

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