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





  • Community input received on proposed health club and pool facility in Rancho Santa Fe
    About 100 Rancho Santa Fe residents showed up on Friday, Oct. 17, for a health club and pool community meeting, the last outreach before ballots were mailed on Monday, Oct. 20. On the ballots, members are being asked whether the Rancho Santa Fe Association should spend $350,000 on a professional planning phase for the potential new community amenity. RSF Ass […]
  • Czech violin duo to perform at Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe
    In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, the Czech School San Diego hosts a free classical violin concert by internationally recognized Czech violin player Jaroslav Svecený and his daughter, Julie Svecená, who are on a tour of the United States. The concert will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in the Village Church. The father-daughter duo will […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe weekly sports update
    Torrey Pines defeated Canyon Crest Academy 4-3 in a Palomar League opener for both teams on Oct. 9. Alayna Tomlinson and Farah Farjood each scored two goals to lead the Falcons. Samantha “Sammy” Cirino added one goal and one assist. […]