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Krafft Arnold Ehricke

Born 24 Mar 1917; died 11 Dec 1984 at age 67.German-born American physicist; rocketry engineer and space-travel theorist. During WW II, he was a key member of the famed Peenemunde Rocket Development team, specializing in the propulsion system for the German V-2 rocket (1942-45). He moved to the U.S. with Wernher von Braun's rocket team in 1945. Entering the U.S. private industry in 1953, he helping develop the Atlas missile at General Dynamics. Subsequently, he invented the first liquid hydrogen propelled upper stage launch vehicle, the Centaur which enabled the U.S. to explore the solar system by launching planetary probes. A vial of his cremated remains accompany those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and others in space orbit, launched 20 Apr 1997.

The worst death

Three men stand before St. Peter awaiting admission into Heaven. However, St. Peter has been informed that Heaven will only admit 33% of applicants today. The admissions standard: Who died the worst death? So, St. Peter takes each of the three men aside in turn and asks them about how they died.

First man: "I'd been suspecting for a long time that my wife was cheating on me. I decided to come home early from work one afternoon and check to see if I could catch her in the act. When I got back to my apartment, I heard the water running. My wife was in the shower. I looked everywhere for the guy, but couldn't find anyone or any trace that he had been there. The last place I looked was out on the balcony.

I found the guy hanging from the edge, trying to get back in! So I started jumping up and down on his hands, and he yelled, but he didn't fall. So I ran inside and got a hammer, and crushed his fingers with it until he fell twenty-five floors screaming in agony. But the fall didn't kill the jerk. He landed in some bushes! So I dragged the refirgerator from the kitchen (it weighed about a ton), pulled it to the balcony, and hurled it over the edge. It landed right on the guy and killed him. But then I felt so horrible about what I had done, I went back into the bedroom and shot myself."

St. Peter nodded slowly as the man recounted the story. Then, telling the first man to wait, he took the second aside.

Second man: "I lived on the twenty-seventh floor of this apartment building. I had just purchased this book on morning exercises and was practicing them on my balcony, enjoying the sunshine, when I lost my balance and fell off the edge. Luckily, I only fell about two floors before grabbing another balcony and holding on for dear life. I was trying to pull myself up when this guy came running onto what must have been his balcony and started jumping up and down on my hands. I screamed in pain, but he seemed really irate. When he finally stopped, I tried to pull myself up again, but he came out with a hammer and smashed my fingers to a pulp! I fell, and I thought I was dead, but I landed in some bushes. I couldn't believe my second stroke of luck, but it didn't last. The last thing I saw was this enormous refrigerator falling from the building down on top of me and crushing me."

St. Peter comforted the man, who seemed to have several broken bones. Then he told him to wait, and turned to the third man.

Third man: "Picture this. You're hiding, naked, in a refrigerator..."

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