Skip to main content

Charles Lundquist Collection

Identifier: MC-145
This collection contains journals, photographs, correspondence, and publications relating to Charles Lundquist's professional career and collecting interests for Univeristy of Alabama in Huntsville Archives & Special Collections.


  • 1950 - 2017


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.


96.25 Linear Feet (102 boxes.)

Biographical / Historical

Charles Arthur Lundquist was born on March 26, 1928 in Webster, South Dakota to Arthur Reynald and Olive Esther (Parks). According to a South Dakota State article on Lundquist, “he had a chemistry lab in his garage and a set of Oxford reference books in his bedroom. In sixth grade, he wrote a report about nuclear fission, long before the phenomenon was used to construct the first atomic bombs.” He also started recording his experiments in journals, a practice he would continue until the late 1960s. He graduated from high school in 1945.

Lundquist attended South Dakota State University, and he was awarded the Bachelor of Science in engineering physics from South Dakota State University in 1949. His graduate education was at the University of Kansas, where he received a Doctor of Philosophy in physics in the fall of 1953. In 1954, he taught on the faculty of Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor of engineering research. Later that year, however, Lundquist was drafted into the United States Army because of U.S. involvement in the Korean War, an event that would alter his career trajectory.

After attending basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, as a private, Lundquist was assigned to the Guided Missile Development Division of Redstone Arsenal at Huntsville. One of his early assignments was work on Project Orbiter, first under Walter Thiel, and later Ernst Stuhlinger. Lundquist worked with rocketry pioneers Wernher von Braun and Hermann Oberth, among others, and he was on the team that launched the first United States satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958.

Lundquist served as chief of the physics and astrophysics branch of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal. When the Marshall Space Flight Center was founded in 1960, he transferred there and continued to work on satellites and space probes. In July 1962, Lundquist became Assistant Director for Science at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but he continued his close association with NASA and contributed his expertise to the success of the Apollo missions. In 1973, Lundquist returned to Huntsville and became the director of the Space Sciences Laboratory at the Marshall Space Flight Center, making key contributions to Skylab and the first Space Shuttle flight.

In 1981, Lundquist retired from NASA and joined the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH). He served UAH in a variety of capacities, including: Director Research 1982-1990, Associate Vice President for research, 1990-1996, Director Consortium for Materials Development in Space, 1985-1998, Director Interactive Projects Office, 1999-2017. He retired from UAH in 2000, but he retained an office on campus and directed part of his efforts towards collecting archival materials related to space.

In 2014, Lundquist authored “Transplanted Rocket Pioneers,” a book based on the research he complied on German Americans who came to Huntsville, Alabama after World War II, many of whom becoming integral members of von Braun rocket team. At the time of his death on June 3, 2017, he was working on a book entitled “Marshall Notables,” which compiled the names of Marshall Space Flight Center personnel from 1960-1973.

Lundquist received a number of awards and recognitions, including the following: Exceptional Science Achievement Medal, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1971; Hermann Oberth Award, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1978; Honorary Doctoral Degree, South Dakota State University, 1979; Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History, American Astronomical Association, 2016.

Lundquist was also a member of the National Speleological Society, and he was active with that group’s library facility in Huntsville, Alabama. He authored and co-authored research papers detailing his caving adventures for several national conventions, and he published a book in 2005 entitled “Tales of Huntsville Caves.” At the time of his death, his large collection of books and papers on caving matriculated to the National Speleological Society Library in Huntsville, Alabama.

Sources: “Early rocketry engineer Lundquist dies.” South Dakota State Alumni Association Newsletter. October 31, 2017.

“Charles Arthur “Chuck” Lundquist – Obituary.” June 6, 2017. Quad City Dailey Online Edition,

Contents of the Charles A. Lundquist Collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charles Lundquist, 2016

Existence and Location of Copies

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.
Reese Boynton
Description rules

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