Victor Szebehely

Victor Szebehely
Victor Szebehely

Victor G. Szebehely (1921–September 13, 1997) was a key figure in the development and success of the Apollo program.

Szebehely was born in Budapest, Hungary. He went to the United States in 1947 and became a naturalized citizen in 1956. In 1956, a dimensionless number used in time-dependent unsteady flows was named “Szebehely’s number,” and in 1957, he was knighted by HRH Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. In the September and October 1977 issues of the journal Celestial Mechanics, volume 16, an equation used to determine the gravitational potential of the Earth, planets, satellites, and galaxies was named “Szebehely’s equation”.

He worked with General Electric, Yale University, the Royal Netherlands Navy, the United States Air Force, NASA, and the University of Texas at Austin.

He was the author of several books.

His first book, The Theory of Orbits, is an important work in orbital mechanics, being the definitive text on the restricted three-body problem as applicable to an Earth-Moon spacecraft system such as Apollo. In 1978 he received the very first Dirk Brouwer Award from the Dynamical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society.

He died in Austin, Texas at age 76.

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