Werner K. Gengelbach

  • Wall of Honor Location:

    Foil: 25 Panel: 4 Column: 2 Line: 28

  • Wall of Honor Level:

    Air and Space Sponsor

He started his professional career in 1938 after he received a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technische Hochschule (institute of Technology) at Darmstadt, Germany. He became employed by the Electrical Institute of the University as an instructor and research assistant. After a year of activity in High Voltage research and post graduate work he became, with the beginning of World War II, engaged in classified research projects of the German Rocket Center at Peenemuende. In 1942 he was invited by Dr. Wernher von Braun to come to Peenemuende to join his team of rocket experts.
His initial position at the Center gave him major responsibilities for the testing and launchings of the first completed V-2 missiles. Later, in 1943, he assumed full responsibility for the planning, establishment and operation of an underground production operation of mobile launch stations
In the fall of 1945 he accepted an invitation by the U.S. Government, together with Dr. von Braun and other members of his team, to come to the U.S.A. and continue missile research and development work. Initially, he was employed by the U.S. Army where he played a major role in the preparation and firings of V-2's at White Sands Proving Ground, N.M.
In 1949 he transferred to the Air Force and worked as consultant to assist in the master planning and operational establishment of the Holloman-White Sands Missile Test Range. During an eight year period of employment by the Air Force he held a number of high level management positions with major responsibilities for the planning and operation of complex missile R&D and Test facilities as well as the direction of engineering activities.
He terminated his employment with the Air Force in 1957 and accepted a management position in the aerospace industry. Two years later he became co-founder and Secretary-Treasurer of Advanced Technology Corporation, an ordnance missile systems company. Following the sale of the company to a major aerospace firm, he returned in 1962 again into Government service when he joined NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville, Ala.
For a year and a half he was assigned to Jet Propulsion Laboratory to assure close liaison between the two NASA centers. In 1964 he was appointed NASA Resident Manager at North American Rockwell Corporation. For eight years he was responsible for the on-site management and administration of the 1.4 billion dollar Saturn II contract.
He separated in June 1972 from NASA and retired from Government service.


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