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Karl Heimburg Collection

Identifier: MC-109

Scope and Contents

Biography of Karl Heimburg, pictures, newspaper and newsletter excerpts, artifacts pertaining to Heimburg's involvement in various NASA programs.


  • Creation: 1930 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives & Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by archives staff members

Conditions Governing Use

This material may be protected under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) which governs the making of photocopies or reproductions of copyrighted materials. You may use the digitized material for private study, scholarship, or research. Though the University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives and Special Collections has physical ownership of the material in its collections, in some cases we may not own the copyright to the material. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in our collections.

Biographical / Historical

Karl Ludwig Heimburg (January 29, 1910 to January 26, 1997) was an expert in guided missiles during World War II (“Heimburg, Karl Ludwig”). He received his education at the Technische Hochschule in Darmstadt, Germany; he graduated in 1935 and received a diploma in engineering (“Heimburg,” Lundquist).

“Opposed to Hitler, [Heimburg] travelled through the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1937 to Japan and began working there. [Heimburg] returned from Japan on leave in 1941, [but was] immediately drafted in Stuttgart and sent to Peenemünde,” where he would work from 1942 to 1945 (“Heimburg,” Lundquist).

Ludwig Roth, the head of the Peenemünde Future Projects Office, hired Heimburg, who subsequently began working on the A7 rocket until its cancellation ("Dahm, Werner Karl," “Heimburg,” “A7”). Heimburg then “was assigned to work on Test Stand VII." He then helped develop "test stands for the Wasserfall missile and [its'] 'Schwimmweste' floating launch platform” (“Heimburg”).

“In late 1944[,] [Heimburg] worked on the crash program to build and test the A4b, a winged version of the V-2 [rocket]. In November 1944[,] he was sent to Lehesten to coordinate work on testing of production V-2 engines. He left there in April 1945, seeking to join the rest of the Von Braun group in Oberammergau” (“Heimburg”).

Heimburg was moved to Witzenhausen, and he participated in the British Operation Backfire (Heimburg). Afterwards, “[Heimburg] agreed to go to the United States,” arriving at Fort Bliss on December 6, 1945 (“Heimburg,” Lundquist). “[He] worked his entire life with the rocket team at Fort Bliss, [then at] White Stands [sic], and then at Huntsville” (“Heimburg”).

Heimburg was listed as the Director of Test Division in the 1960 Marshall Space Flight Center “initial management structure,” and by February 1969 (“five months before the first moon landing”), Heimburg had become Director of the Test Laboratory at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Lundquist).

After retiring from the Marshall Space Flight Center, Heimburg volunteered at the Johnson Environmental and Energy Center (Lundquist).

“[Heimburg] died in Huntsville, Alabama” (“Heimburg”).


"Dahm, Werner Karl." Peenemünde Interviews. National Air and Space Museum.

Lundquist, Charles. "Transplanted Rocket Pioneers," 2015.

Wade, Mark. "A7." Encyclopedia Astronautica,

Wade, Mark. "Heimburg, Karl Ludwig." Encyclopedia Astronautica,


5.5 Linear feet (5 boxes, 1 oversize)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ruth Heimburg, 2018. Gift of Klaus Heimburg, 2022.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, and competing priorities. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Joshua Miller
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections Repository

M. Louis Salmon Library
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899 Alabama 35899 United States of America