HALL OF FAME
E-Mail: Museum Director
Mr. Jed Durrenberger
Jed Durrenberger was born in Greenville, N.J., on
September 8, 1916. He received a degree in mechanical engineering from New
Mexico State Univesity in 1951. He came to White Sands the same year as a
trainee with the Ballistic Research Lab.
Later, as a ballistic camera station chief,
Durrenberger was the key person in developing the Loki Firefly instrumentation
system. The rocket received its name from a strobe light that flashed when the
rocket was in flight. The ballistic cameras operated by Durrenberger could
record these flashes, which allowed the computation of precise trajectory data
for this very small vehicle.
As Durrenberger moved up in responsibility he made
larger impacts at White Sands. He assisted in the development and design of
the BC-4, a very precise ballistic camera system used at White Sands and
elsewhere. He became chief of a section of 60 employees charged
with using optical instruments such as ultra-high speed cameras to obtain
performance data on missiles launched at White Sands.
In 1957 the Smithsonian Institute gathered people like
Durrenberger from various agencies to help design instrumentation to obtain
data on satellites. The Soviets launched Sputnik in October 1957. Durrenberger
assisted in developing and manufacturing the Baker Nunn Satellite Tracking
Cameras that were placed around the world to track Sputnik and follow-on
In 1972, Durrenberger was honored by the Society of
Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) with the Robert Goddard
Memorial Award for his work in photographic tracking of missiles.
Durrenberger retired from White Sands in 1980.
Mr. Durenberger died in 2005.