Charles M. Blackburn, 58, a senior engineer and program manager for space and submarine projects at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, died at Holy Cross Hospital Jan. 21 of injuries suffered earlier in the day in a traffic accident.

Montgomery County police said Mr. Blackburn's car was northbound on Layhill Road in Wheaton when a car skidded out of control and struck his vehicle head-on. Police said Mr. Blackburn's car hit a tree.

Mr. Blackburn, who was born in Carbon Hill, Ala., served in the Navy during World War II and then earned a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois. He also studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and the University of Michigan.

He worked for Olin Industries in Illinois before moving to the Washington area in 1951 and joining the Navy Department. He began his career at the Applied Physics Laboratory in 1952.

Mr. Blackburn had worked on the development of various missiles and on physiological experiments in connection with manned space flights.

Survivors include his wife, Rita, of Wheaton; four daughters, Jo Boyce of O'Fallon, Ill., Janet Eckhardt of Rockville, and Jean Whitley and Jane Blackburn of Wheaton; a son, Army Pvt. William C., who is stationed in Berlin; a sister, Virginia Jenkerson of Pearland, Tex., and five grandchildren.