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Siegfried Hansen,90, an electrical engineer who 50...


Siegfried Hansen,

90, an electrical engineer who 50 years ago pioneered the hard spacesuit now used in NASA missions, died of pneumonia June 28 in Los Angeles.

The spacesuit originated with Mr. Hansen's quest to improve the vacuum tube, a key component of electronic devices such as early television sets.

Mr. Hansen felt that the only way to improve the tube was to test it from the inside, so he and his colleagues designed a suit that could be worn in the airless atmosphere of a vacuum.

Unlike previous pressure suits, Mr. Hansen's 50-pound Mark I suit maintained constant volume and geometry, which allowed wearers to breathe inside a vacuum and bend their arms a full 90 degrees.

When transistor technology rendered the vacuum tube obsolete, scientists saw a secondary use for Mr. Hansen's creation - a suit that could sustain humans as they worked outside a spacecraft above Earth's atmosphere.

Called "the father of the EVA" (extravehicular activity suit), Mr. Hansen modeled it on the cover of Look magazine in December 1957, two months before the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite.

David Asseo,

88, the chief rabbi of Turkey, who led the small Jewish community in this majority-Muslim nation for 41 years and repeatedly called for interfaith tolerance, died Sunday.

Turkey, a nation of 67 million, has a population of about 25,000 Jews, most of them descendants of Spanish Jews who fled to Turkey in the 1400s.

Mr. Asseo was rabbi in 1986 when Istanbul's largest synagogue, Neve Shalom, was attacked by gunmen, believed to be Palestinians, who killed 22 worshippers during a Sabbath service.

Mr. Asseo's funeral was scheduled to take place at that synagogue, whose name means "oasis of peace" in Hebrew. His deputy, Isak Haleva, will serve as chief rabbi until a successor is elected.

Born in Istanbul in 1914, Mr. Asseo studied at a Jewish school on the Greek island of Rhodes, graduating in 1933 with a diploma permitting him to teach Hebrew and Jewish subjects. Asseo later served as a member of the Jewish court.

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