In the early part of my career I worked for L’Air Liquide in Montreal and New York. I started in Process Design but wound up in Technical Sales. This entailed direct contact with steel and chemical companies trying to satisfy their demand for oxygen, nitrogen and argon.
We started to be interested in the US space program and its tremendous expected demand for liquid oxygen for flight and liquid nitrogen for testing. When the Russians launched the first artificial satellite into earth orbit in October 1957, the various rocket and propulsion agencies in the US were drawn together into a new civilian agency, the National Aeronautic Space Administration, NASA, on October 1st, 1958. At that time, we had just hired a space consultant in New York and on that exact day he and I were in an office in Washington with engineers from the Naval Aeronautical Research facility in Maryland discussing oxygen logistics when the announcement about the NASA creation came out. Research labs from Ames, Langley, the Army Ballistic Center in Huntsville, AL and the Jet Propulsion Lab in California plus several other groups all became part of NASA.
When I first joined Air Liquide in 1954, I was shocked to find that my boss was Dr. Adolf Trapp who had made all the liquid oxygen for the for Dr. Wernher von Braun’s rocket program at Peenemunde in WWII. All of his oxygen was sent to London in Adolf Hitler’s secret weapon, the V-2 rocket. I was in London on the receiving end of some of those as well as the earlier V-1s. Years later, I would meet Wernher von Braun at Huntsville, AL where we supplied large quantities of liquid nitrogen and oxygen for engine testing. Dealing with Adolf Trapp and later, on visits to Huntsville and the Cape, I worked quite a bit with the Germans. One contractor firm also working with the Germans came up with a new rocket terminology we all had to learn.
Guided Missile Das Schientificker Geschuterwerke Firenkracker
Rocket Engine Das Firenschpitter mit Schmoken und Schnorten
Solid Rocket Das Schticklikker Cigaretten Firenschpitter
Liquid Rocket Das Schwerten Juisenkind Firenschpitter
Guidance System Das Schteerenwerke
Celestial Guidance Das Schtargazen Peepenglasser mit Schruballisch Komputer Ratracen
Preset Guidance Das Sendenoffen mit ein Pattenback und Fingergecrossen Schteerenwerke
Computer Das Schmartaleckerwerke mit Schruballisch Elektronicrattracen und alles getubenkrap
Wind Tunnel Engineers Das Huffen puffen Gruppe
Warhead Das Laudenboomer
Atomic Warhead Das Eargeschplitten Laudenboomer
Hydrogen Warhead Das Eargeschplitten Laudenboomer mit Grossen Hollingroun und Alles Kaput