scilogs SpaceTimeDreamer



A month after finishing the birthday cake for my 10th anniversary, Sputnik I was launched and the Space Age began. Caught up in the excitment of exploding rockets and daring space pioneers there was only one thing a young boy could dream of - to become a part of it. A sensible thing to do then and now was to study physics. But after finishing my degree I ended up doing very earthbound jobs - software development for the weather bureau and for a university computing center.

I then did something which seemed to put a definite end to any hopes for a space career: I went to Africa for a few years. Teaching physics and math at a small school in Central Tanzania and later a job as geologic data processor with a U.N. project in Mozambique turned out to be a great experience which changed me for ever.

But life can work in mysterious ways. When returning from Africa to my hometown Darmstadt in the mid-1980s not knowing what to do next the European Space Operations Centre ESOC which is located there was just in need of software developers. Having by now worked in international organizations and being familiar with computers I suddenly ended up where I wanted to be in the first place! Later on I would work at the German Space Operations Center near Munich in mission planning and operations having by now learned a few more details about space.

Right now I'm back in Darmstadt and sort-of retired which means I have less time than ever before. I occasionally act as a tour guide at ESOC which has the benefit of still being invited to all the launch parties they have...

Gerhard Holtkamp