Guido Peter Pirquet

Perhaps the “VSS Unity” spacecraft of Briton Richard Branson recently relied on the trajectory calculations of Guido von Pirquet on its way into space. Pirquet, who studied mechanical engineering, was involved in ballistics, thermodynamics and nozzle design from an early age. In 1926, he founded the Austrian Society for Space Research. In 1928, he published calculations on trajectories for space probes to Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Those to Venus were accurately implemented by the first Soviet interplanetary probe in 1961.

His research was honored many times, among others Pirquet was honorary president of the Austrian Society for Space Research and honorary member of the International Academy of Austronautics in Paris. He was awarded the Hermann Oberth Medal, the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art 1st Class, and the Johann-Joseph-Ritter-von-Prechtl Medal of the Vienna University of Technology. The lunar crater Pirquet is named after him.

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