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Alfred J. Zaehringer

April 29, 1925 March 26, 2012
Alfred J. Zaehringer
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Obituary for Alfred J. Zaehringer

Alfred Zaehringer of Troy, died March 26, 2012, at Henry Ford Hospice in Warren. He was 86 years old. Mr. Zaehringer was born April 29, 1925, in Detroit, to Rose (nee Molnar) and Jacob Zaehringer. He proudly served in the United States Army during WWII and loved to build his own rockets. After the war he earned his degree in engineering and formed the Detroit Rocket Society. He coined the term �rocket science� and became editor of the DRS Journal called �Rocketscience�.

Mr. Zaehringer had his first professional rocket experience at the University of Michigan, where he dealt with anti-missile and rocket programs, after which he joined the Thiokol Chemical Company, becoming chief test engineer. Following this he went to work at the Grand Central Rocket Company, where he worked on the upper stage motor for America�s first satellite. After his work there, Mr. Zaehringer formed the American Rocket Company where he worked on a number of rocket systems. With the Apollo program, he worked on up-rating the Saturn C-5, and the manned Mars program. Moving to Martin, he was with a solid rocket management group that looked at solid strap-ons and their effects.

Moving back to Michigan, Mr. Zaehringer worked on the solid propellant gas generator for the Lance battlefield missile at LTV Aerospace. He, along with the majority of the propulsion group then moved to Ford Motor Company where he worked on EGR valves, fuel injectors, and fuel vapor management. Mr. Zaehringer retired in 1995 and devoted his time to writing about rocket science and space. He is the author of seven books here in the United States and in Europe.

Mr. Zaehringer was a member of the National Space Society and the British Interplanetary Society. Along with other space pioneers, his name is on the Stardust microchip and will be in space forever.

Mr. Zaehringer is survived by his wife, Janice May, and children, Anne (Edward) Kozak and Alice (Michael) Morrison. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Danielle and Edward Kozak and Ryan, Evan, Ian, and Colin Morrison and his step-children, Marilee Kujat, Susanne Brown, Peter Lamont and their children.

Friends may visit at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Road (between 14-15 Mile Rds.) Friday 3-8pm.

Memorials appreciated to Henry Ford Hospice, 11700 E. Ten Mile Road, Warren, Michigan 48089.

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