Skip to main content

Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger Recognition Collection

Identifier: MC-56
The collection includes a total of 4 archival boxes containing 80 subject folders, and 32 DVD's The Ernst Stuhlinger Recognition Collection is primarily focused on his extensive wide range of contributions to the field of science. He was a multifaceted scholar of far-ranging interest who also demonstrated a keen appreciation of history and its preservation.


  • 1950 - 2010

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.


2 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Stuhlinger was born in Niederrimbach, Germany, near Wurzburg in Bavaria on Dec. 1913. Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger received his Doctorate in Physics with a thesis entitled “Ionization Rate of Cosmic Rays” at the University of Tuebingen in 1936. He was appointed Assistant Professor of the Physics Department of the Berlin Institute of Technology and was a member of the faculty there from 1936 to 1941. He worked closely with Dr. Hans Geiger, developer of the Geiger counter, for seven years. From 1939 to 1941, he was a member of a special research group conducting studies in nuclear energy.

In the Spring of 1943, Stuhlinger joined the Rocket Development Center at Peenemünde, which was under the technical supervision of Dr. Wernher von Braun, who became the first Director of George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. At Peenemünde, Dr. Stuhlinger carried on research in connection with the development of guidance and control systems for the V-2 guided missile.

Dr. Stuhlinger came to the United States in 1946 under the auspices of the Ordnance Corps, U. S. Army; he became an American citizen on April 14th, 1955. He conducted research and development work in connection with guided missiles at Fort Bliss, Texas, and assisted in high altitude research firings of captured V-2s at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico. From 1956 until July 1st, 1960, Dr. Stuhlinger was Director of the Research Projects laboratory, Army Ballistic Missile Agency, U. S. Army Ordnance Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He became the Director of the Research Projects Laboratory of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center from 1960 to 1968, then became the associate director for science from 1968 to 1975, when he retired. He became an adjunct professor and senior research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Among his many other works at Marshall, he directed early planning for lunar exploration about the Sun, led planning for the three High Energy Astronomical Observatories, and worked on the initial phases of what would become the Hubble Space Telescope. After retiring, Stuhlinger and historian Frederick Ordway collaborated on the biography “Werhner von Braun: Crusader for Space.” In it, Stuhlinger downplayed claims that von Braun had mistreated prisoners working on the V-2 program during the war. Author Michael Neufeld has called these claims highly dubious in his book, “Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War,” stating that Stuhlinger was not personally involved in these areas and would have no first-hand information.

Stuhlinger reiterated the point that their aim was ultimately peaceful; in an "Associated Press" article, he wrote: "Yes, we did work on improved guidance systems, but in late 1944 we were convinced that the war would soon be over before new systems could be used on military rockets. However, we were convinced that somehow our work would find application in the future rockets that would not aim at London, but at the moon." Stuhlinger died in Huntsville at age 94 on May 25, 2008.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charles Lundquist, David Christensen, and others, 2010.

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