Guenter F. Wendt
Pad Leader During Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Programs
Author of: Unbroken Chain
Guenter F. Wendt was born and educated in Germany. He came to the United States in 1949 and became an American citizen in 1955. As a mechanical engineer for McDonnell Aircraft, he was given primary responsibility for spacecraft test, checkout, and launch operations for all Mercury and Gemini manned flights.
In 1967, after the Apollo fire, he accepted a position with North American Rockwell at the Kennedy Space Center and was responsible for spacecraft launch preparations for all manned Apollo, Skylab and ASTP flights. He was the last man seen by the flight crews prior to liftoff.
He was in charge of flight crew safety during the Shuttle ALT program and during the subsequent operational flights of the Shuttle Transport System until his retirement in 1989.
He was a confidant and personal friend of most astronauts and the recipient of NASA's "Letter of Appreciation" award, several Group Achievement Awards and the "Silver Snoopy."
Mr. Wendt worked on numerous film and video projects. He served as technical consultant on the television adaptation of James A. Michener's "Space", the HBO mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon", and the Discovery Channel's documentary "In Search of Liberty Bell 7".
He was featured in newspapers, magazines and books and appeared on radio and television here and in Germany. He effectively presented the American offer of opportunities via "Radio Free Europe" and the "Voice of America" broadcasts. He was presenting the case for an ongoing space program to students and civic groups on many continents. Guenter Wendt died in 2010.