Dunn, Louis G. (1908–1979)

Louis G. Dunn

Louis Dunn was a South African-born engineer who played a key role in the development of early American missiles and launch vehicles.


Dunn earned a BS (1936), two MSs – in mechanical engineering (1937) and aeronautical engineering (1938) – and a PhD (1940) from the California Institute of Technology, and then joined the faculty there. He became assistant director of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in 1945 and then served as director (1947–1954), presiding over JPL's early rocketry program which led to the development of the Sergeant missile. Upon leaving JPL, he took charge of the Atlas missile project for the recently-formed Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation. He remained there through 1957 as associate director and then director and vice president of the guided missile research division, before becoming executive vice president and general manager, then president, and finally chairman of the firm's Space Technology Laboratories.


From 1963 on, Dunn assumed various management positions for Aerojet-General Corp. Besides the Atlas (built by General Dynamics), he played a key role in developing the Thor (McDonnell Douglas), Titan, and Minuteman missiles (Martin Marietta).



1. Perry, Robert L. "The Atlas, Thor, Titan, and Minuteman." In A History of Rocket Technology, edited by Eugene M. Emme. Detroit, Mich.: Wayne State University Press, 1964, 143-55.