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Obituary: Ross Fleisig

Ross Fleisig (Oct.12, 1921 – Dec. 28, 2011), an aerospace engineer for more than 55 years and scientist at three aircraft and spacecraft companies, died in Binghamton, NY, at age 90.

Mr. Fleisig was born in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. He lived in Garden City for nearly 50 years before moving to Binghamton, NY. Mr. Fleisig received a bachelor of aeronautical engineering and a master of science in applied mechanics, both from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn. After graduating in 1942, he was employed as a senior aerodynamacist by Chance Vought Aircraft in Stratford, CT, and Dallas, TX, where he contributed to the design of U.S. Navy fighter and bomber aircraft, and guided missiles employed during WWII. In 1950, he joined Sperry Gyroscope Company in Great Neck as a project engineer and was promoted to engineering Section head. Mr. Fleisig supervised technical personnel in missile guidance and control systems, helicopter flight control and lunar spacecraft navigation development fields.

In 1960, he joined the Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, as dynamic analysis project engineer on the NASA Orbiting Astronomical Observatory. In 1961, as head of the Apollo Lunar Module (LM) Dynamics and Performance Analysis, he managed more than 100 engineers, scientists, and supporting personnel in the definition of LM trajectories and propulsion requirements. He was promoted to spacecraft team manager, and in this role he directed over 100 engineers, technicians, and quality control specialists in the final assembly, integration, and ground test of the Apollo 11 LM-5 Eagle. The LM-5 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon and return the astronauts to the mother craft in lunar orbit. Mr. Fleisig’s last years at Grumman were spent as advanced systems engineering manager for U.S. Air Force space trajectory software and helicopter systems development. Mr. Fleisig ended his career as a private consultant, serving U.S. and German aerospace concerns.

Mr. Fleisig was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers; an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; past president, director and fellow of the American Astronautical Society; member of the International Astronautical Academy; fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Interplanetary Society. Mr. Fleisig has authored 33 technical papers and has been a frequent lecturer to engineering and scientific societies, colleges, public schools, service organizations and other civic groups. Mr. Fleisig’s past honors include: NASA Apollo 11 Manned Flight Awareness Award “in recognition of personal contribution and dedication that made possible this historic achievement;” NASA Medallion in recognition of tireless effort and personal dedication on the Lunar Module Program; Distinguished Alumni Medal from Newtown High School; Grumman Citation for Excellence in recognition of personal achievement and for outstanding contribution to the Lunar Module Program of Project Apollo; Distinguished Alumni Award from the Polytechnic University; and the Thomas Sanial Award given to an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) member for outstanding contributions to the AIAA goals. Mr. Fleisig was selected as an AIAA 1995-97 Distinguished Lecturer, and was presented, as one of three recipients, the 1997 Achievement Award by the Engineers Joint Council of Long Island. Mr. Fleisig was a member of the Mineola-Garden City Rotary Club, Garden City Casino and the Garden City Ski Club.

Mr. Fleisig was married to Marjorie Marie Hall in 1943. She passed on in April 2000. He is survived by their two daughters, Ann Machlin and Dale Gallis, and two grandchildren, Russell Gallis and Thea Gallis Musselman.