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Konrad Dannenberg Collection

Identifier: MC-43

Scope and Contents

Documents, correspondence, artifacts, films, slides, drawings relating to the life and career of Konrad Dannenberg.


  • Creation: 1920 - 2010


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research in the Archives and Special Collections reading room. Handling guidelines and use restrictions will be communicated and enforced by artchives 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 Alabamain Huntsville Archives and Special Collections hasphysical 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

Konrad K. Dannenberg's contributions and accomplishments in rocketry and propulsion were a cornerstone of technological progress for the United States and helped place the Huntsville community in the national forefront. After his retirement from NASA, Konrad initiated a second career dedicated to instilling his passion for space to future generations.

Mr. Dannenberg was born in Schlob Neu Augustusberg to a Prussian Army Master Sergeant on August 5, 1912, in Weibenfels in Prussian Saxony. When he was two, his family moved to Hannover where he spent his youth. He became interested in space through a lecture by Max Valier. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Hannover (Dipl. Ing.) and subsequently joined a group of amateur rocketeers under Albert Pullenberg. Drafted into the German army in 1939, Dannenberg was discharged a year later and became a civilian employee at the German Army's Research and Development Center in Peenemunde on the Baltic Sea. There he became a propulsion specialist working under Walter Thiele and Walter Reidel on A-4 Engines as a member of von Braun's rocket team.

After the end of World War II, Dannenberg was brought to the United States with 117 other German rocket scientists and engineers during Operation Paperclip to Fort Bliss, Texas. In 1950, he transferred with the group to Redstone Arsenal where they became a part of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. There he helped develop and produce the Redstone and Jupiter missile systems. In 1960, Dannenberg joined NASA's Marshall Space flight center a Deputy Manager of the Saturn program. He received NASA's Distinguished Service Medal for successful development of the Saturn, the largest rocket ever built, and the first to transport human beings to the moon. After the moon landing, Konrad briefly led the center's first preliminary Space Station efforts before his retirement from NASA in 1973.

After retiring from NASA, Konrad dedicated the rest of his life to developing and nurturing interest and knowledge about space in younger generations. Initially, he taught at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma for five years, but he found his true calling when he helped to initiate the space camp program at the Alabama Space Rocket Center (ASRC) in 1984. The opportunity to influence over 250,000 students, their teachers, and their parents was one he simply could not pass up. He lectured passionately and gave first-person accounts of the history of spaceflight to children, teachers, professionals, and the general public for over thirty years. He continued to be a strong advocate for space and was active in historical and educational activities until his death in 2009. Konrad continued to encourage people daily through emails, interviews, and phone calls.

Mr. Dannenberg was a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and twice was president of the Alabama/Mississippi Section. He was the recipient of the AIAA's 1990 Druand Lectureship and the 1995 Hermann Oberth Award. He was a member to the MSFC Retirees Association, an honorary member of the Hermann Oberth Society of Germany, and a charter member of the L-5 Society, now known as the National Space Society (NSS).


72 Linear feet (115 boxes, 14 oversize, and 2 binders.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Klaus Dannenberg, 2009.

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 acquiredand doesmore extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Robert Carver
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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