Book chronicles 218 immigrants who boosted U.S. space program


Dr. Charles Lundquist

Michael Mercier | UAH

The director of the Interactive Projects Office at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Research Institute, Dr. Charles Lundquist, has authored a new book published by UAH that chronicles the relevant information and life history of 218 scientists transplanted to the United States from Europe - primarily Germany - who became vital to U.S. rocketry and space programs.

Producing the book, entitled "Transplanted Rocket Pioneers," spanned 18 months. It's part of a larger activity in advance of 50th anniversary of the lunar landing in 2019 and the 50th anniversary of UAH as an independent campus.

"I had help from lots of people. Many people provided information and input for this book. I appreciate their help," says Dr. Lundquist.

The book consolidates information about the newcomers who made significant contributions to rocketry and to the formation of UAH.

"The most pertinent of these individuals then came to the Army facilities in Huntsville, Alabama, and subsequently were employed at the Marshall Space Flight Center during the Apollo Program," writes Dr. Lundquist in the book's preface. "This group constituted a significant subset of the full Apollo team. The transplanted rocket pioneer subset is significant because there seems to be a consensus among historians that the Apollo missions to the Moon would not have been possible in the 1960s without this core group."


Dr. Lundquist traces the arc of U.S. rocketry from its root source in Germany with the 1930 formation of the Verein fur Raumschiffahrt, or Society for Space Travel, which had a young Wernher von Braun as an enthusiastic member.

Patrick Scheuermann, the director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, wrote the book's foreword.

Dr. Lundquist's experience includes 50 years in high-level positions with the U.S. Army, the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, NASA, and finally at UAH. He officially retired in 1999. Working as a UAH volunteer since then, he spends his time sleuthing for past research from the Army, NASA and private papers, as well as collecting oral histories from NASA retirees and others. All are added to an archive on the ground floor of UAH's M. Louis Salmon Library, where Anne Coleman is a reference librarian and head of Archives and Special Collections. The archives preserve continued access for future historians, scholars and students.

The archives appreciate contributions of historic documents from the public about Huntsville and the space program.