Designer of key system of Nasa craft grew up in TN - Times of India

Designer of key system of Nasa craft grew up in TN - Times of India

MARYLAND: When Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft zips past the most distant and ancient object in the solar system, called Ultima Thule, around 11am (IST) on January 1 at a whopping velocity of 14kms per second, it will be a moment of celebration in India too.

The reason: Carl S Engelbrecht, the man who fabricated, designed and tested New Horizons’ propulsion system was born in Kodaikanal. He spent his early years at Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu and speaks Tamil. He said he can also read and write Tamil.

To prove that he was still very Tamilian at heart, he greeted this correspondent in Tamil when he met him at the science building of John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) on Friday. “I spent15 years in Tamil Nadu and studied at the Kodaikanal International School,” Carl, who came to the US in 1977 and joined APL in 2002, told TOI.

His links with India, Tamil Nadu in particular, does not stop there. His daughter Gillian Engelbrecht teaches at the Holy Cross High School at Vellore in Tamil Nadu.

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