Author helped develop missiles

The Nazis developed the world’s first long-range ballistic missile, known as the V-2.

The rockets traveled in a suborbital space flight, meaning they would reach outer space before dropping back down toward the target. During the war, the Nazis launched more than 3,000 of these missiles, mainly toward London and Antwerp, Belgium. They had a goal of reaching targets in the United States, but were never able to develop a successful navigation system.

When the war was in its final stages, the Americans and the Russians raced to capture as many V-2 rockets as they could and the engineers responsible for them. The U.S. Army took more than 60 of these explosives and, as part of Operation Paper Clip, recruited then-Nazi rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun.

Research and development began in New Mexico, and that is where current Solana Beach resident William Yengst comes in. An electrical engineer, Yengst served in developing and testing the V-2 missiles, ultimately helping to create a more accurate navigation system.

In his latest book, “Lightning Bolts: First Maneuvering Reentry Vehicles,” which was released April 6, Yengst writes of programs and processes for launching, designing and testing these missiles in the mid-1960s. It tracks the development of the U.S. Armed Forces’ long-range missile systems into the 1980s.

The book provides a firsthand account of Yengst’s participation in White Sands, N.M., missile testing, where he said all 64 of the V-2s captured in Operation Paper Clip were detonated.

“I came across it because I lived it,” he said, adding that he hopes these stories will inspire high school and college students to pursue a career in electrical engineering.

If you go

- William Yengst signs copies of his new book
- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 15
- Earth Song Bookstore, 1440 Camino del Mar
- (858) 755-4254,

Related posts:

  1. Author to discuss decision-making
  2. Author Tom Zoellner to speak at The Book Works
  3. Local author tells principal’s story
  4. Author explores parenting, adversity
  5. Menopause book a hit with author’s fans

Short URL:

Posted by on Apr 8, 2010. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6





  • Rancho Santa Fe resident among seven new trustees joining UC San Diego Foundation Board
    Proactive stewards, higher education advocates and expert financial strategists, UC San Diego Foundation trustees play an important role in cultivating community partnerships and garnering resources to support UC San Diego research, teaching and public service initiatives. Trustees govern the Foundation, including managing net assets totaling $717 million, i […]
  • Rancho Fire District to recognize Fire Prevention Week with two events
    National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11, and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD) will host two community events to recognize the annual awareness campaign. The first will be an Open House from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4 at RSF Fire Station 2, 16930 Four Gee Road in 4S Ranch. Guests will be able to tour the fire station and traini […]
  • New Rancho Santa Fe Library Branch Manager welcomes community input
    Rancho Santa Fe Library’s new Branch Manager Haley Kwon has been charmed by the village’s “sweet, down-home” character, the simple pleasure of visiting the local library and people’s enjoyment of a slower speed of time. “It’s a small town and the library is a place for people to connect,” Kwon said. “People have a different sense of time here, they come in t […]