Without question, 1997 was productive for the History Office at NASA Headquarters. This program was established in 1959 to preserve and disseminate a record of agency activities for the public interest. Our efforts continued during 1997 toward building a significant collection of reference documents for use by both NASA personnel and the public; providing historical perspective and documentary support for agency executives; and researching and writing NASA history for publication in books, monographs, articles, and reports.


Reference Collection and Research Support:


During the year the NASA Historical Reference Collection answered a total of 2,824 research requests from government, educational, and private organizations on all manner of divergent research interests. A priority during the year was providing background information and documentary records to aid NASA decision-makers in their work. This required a total number of 1,823 work hours by the office staff. Also during the fiscal year, the History Office provided research services to 583 on-site researchers using its collections. The office also prepared several types of historical materials:

Photographs of U.S. Presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton, commemorating important events in the history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and NASA, were placed by the NASA History Office on display in the "Great Hall" at NASA Headquarters. President Herbert Hoover presenting the Collier Trophy to Dr. Joseph Ames (NACA, 1929); President Truman sharing a light moment with Administrator Jim Webb at the opening of the NASA Headquarters building on C Street (November 1961); President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Armstrong (July 1989); and President Bill Clinton hosting the crew of STS-79 in the Oval Office and presenting the Congressional Space Medal of Honor to Astronaut Shannon Lucid (December 1996), are only a few of the historic photographs on display. The exhibit was originated and researched by NASA History Office's Lee Saegesser.

"Historical Context for International Competition/Cooperation in Space," briefing paper for use in negotiations with international partners concerning space station, 6 June 1997.

"Quotes of NASA Resourcefulness," briefing paper for use in public dissemination of information about Mars Pathfinder, 31 July 1997.

One ongoing effort in the office has been the creation of a computer-based inventory and finding aid for NASA's historical reference collection. Beforehand, the only one who knew the contents of the collection in any detail was our archivist, Lee D. Saegesser. The Archives consists of 2,300+ linear feet of material and growing. Approximately, 1,400 total ft. have been catalogued, accounting for over 75 percent and a total of 16,049 records.

In addition, throughout 1997 the NASA Security Office has been working to declassify historical materials housed in the NASA History Office. This is being undertaken in response to Executive Order 12958, which mandated the review and declassification of most Federal documents created more than 25 years ago. They had declassified more than 15 linear feet of materials by the end of the year, and several new materials related to the Eisenhower and Kennedy eras are now available for research.

The History Office also transferred 84 cubic feet of historically important records to the National Archives and Records Administration in 1997. These include the papers of Administrator James C. Fletcher (1986-1989), Deputy Administrator Dale D. Myers (1986-1989), and the chronological reading files of the office of the administrator (1962-1966, 1969-1989). These are now available for research at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.

The NASA History Office received in 1997 three large electronic filing cabinets to help ease our crowded Historical Reference Collection. The archival staff busied itself for several months consolidating and moving over 400 linear feet of records to the new systems. After all the files were moved, contract archivists Mark Kahn and Colin Fries began updating our Inmagic database finding aid to reflect the new locations of these many files.

The NASA History Office embarked during 1997 on a long-term effort to scan and create in an electronic format a database of historically-significant one-of-a-kind documents currently maintained on paper only in the NASA History Office. This project accomplishes several tasks: (1) preserves unique records of the agency that are critical to understanding the agency and its historical development; (2) allows the disposition of paper originals to the National Archives where they belong in keeping with the Archive's mission of maintaining a record of the activities of the federal government; (3) frees space within the NASA History Office for its continued collection of the historically significant documents of the agency; and (4) makes these historical materials available to a much wider body of researchers from NASA, other government agencies, the academic community, and the public. We propose starting this project with several runs of unique historical material that should be imaged and made available in an electronic format:

The NASA Current News, 1958-Present. The History Office has the set that is approaching completeness of these available anywhere in the world. (42 linear feet of documents).

The Mission Operations Reports of all NASA space flights, 1958-Present. The History Office also has the only complete set of these available anywhere in the world. (23 linear feet of documents).

The NASA Administrator's Chronological Correspondence Files, 1958-1992. Once again, the History Office also has the only inclusive set of these available anywhere in the world. (35 linear feet of documents).

The NASA Headquarters and Field Center Telephone Directories, 1958-Present. A uniquely useful set of documents for tracing institutional and personnel changes, the History Office has the only complete set of these available anywhere in the world. (11 linear feet of documents).

NASA Headquarters and Center Newspapers, 1958-Present. Once again, a unique set not duplicated elsewhere. (19 linear feet of documents).

We anticipate acquiring the necessary imaging equipment in March 1998 and to begin work on the immediately after configuration and installation.

The British Interplanetary Society also awarded its prestigious Dr. Patrick Moore Medal to Lee D. Saegesser, our esteemed NASA archivist. Lee has provided invaluable assistance to scores of researchers who have come through the NASA History Office in the past 30 years. After flying to London to receive the medal, Lee gave talks on "Jules Verne and the Flight of Apollo 8" and "NASA Does Have a Sense of Humor!"


Publication Program:


The hallmark of the NASA history program continued in 1997, as previously, to be the preparation of solid, well-researched works on the history of the U.S. civil space program. During the year the NASA History Program published several major new books and other less ambitious publications. These are shown in the list below.


Special Publications


Butrica, Andrew J. Editor. Beyond the Ionosphere: Fifty Years of Satellite Communication (NASA SP-4217).

Bilstein, Roger E. Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles. (NASA SP-4206, paperback reprint edition).

Gawdiak, Ihor Y., et. al. Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1986-1990: A Chronology. (NASA SP-4027, 1997).

Herring, Mack R. Way Station to Space: A History of the John C. Stennis Space Center, 1961-1994. (NASA SP-4310).

Wallace, Harold D., Jr. Wallops Station and the Development of the U.S. Space Program. (NASA SP-4311).


Contractor Reports and Technical Memoranda


Garber, Stephen J. Compiler. Research in NASA History: A Guide to the NASA History Program. (NASA HHR-64, June 1997).

Launius, Roger D. "A Chronology of Martian Exploration, 1960-1997." (HHR-65, background paper for Public Affairs Office issued at the time of the landing of the Mars Prospector mission, July 1997, multilith.)

Launius, Roger D. Compiler. Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite. (HHR-66, Proceedings of an historical conference at Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, September 30-October 1, 1997, multilith).


Monographs in Aerospace History


Powers, Sheryll Goecke. Women in Flight Research at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center from 1946 to 1995. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 6).

Portree, David S.F., and Trevino, Robert C. Compilers. Walking to Olympus: A Chronology of Extravehicular Activity (EVA) (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 7).


NASA History Office Annual Reports


Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1996 Activities. (NASA Annual Report).


NASA History Office Book from Other Publishers


McCurdy, Howard E. Space and the American Imagination. (Smithsonian Institution Press).

Launius, Roger D., and McCurdy, Howard E. Editors. Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership. (University of Illinois Press).


NASA Historical Publications in the News:


Since first appearing, Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Space Program, has received exceptionally favorable attention. The second volume in the series, was celebrated March 5, 1997, with a reception in the NASA Headquarters Library. We were joined by 75 guests from the Washington area policy and history communities as well as Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, who spoke on the importance of being able to recapture the thinking and decision-making of the past, so that we can learn from it. This latest volume contains over 130 documents, with accompanying introduction, illustrating the evolution of NASA's relationships with the international space community, the military establishment, the private sector, and academia. Exploring the Unknown, Vol. II is available from the Government Printing Office for $40.00.


Historical Publications Nearing Publication:


Also during the year, NASA historians worked toward the publication of several other histories on a wide diversity of subjects. Here is a list of major projects presently nearing completion, along with projected publication dates. The dates of publication, of course, may slip due to the exigencies of funding.


Special Publications


Logsdon, John M. General Editor. Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume III, Using Space. (NASA SP-4407, 1997).

Reed, R. Dale, with Lister, Darlene. Wingless Flight: The Lifting Body Story. (NASA SP-4220, 1997).

Mack, Pamela E. Editor. From Engineering Science to Big Science: The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy Research Project Winners. (NASA SP-4219, 1998).

Tatarewicz, Joseph N. Journey to the Fifth Planet: The Galileo Spacecraft and the Exploration of Jupiter. (NASA SP-4220, 1998).

Dunar, Andrew J., and Waring, Stephen P. At the Center: A History of the Marshall Space Flight Center, 1960-1990. (NASA SP-4311, 1998).

Logsdon, John M. General Editor. Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume IV, Space Transportation (NASA SP-4407, 1998).


Books Published by Other Presses


Schorn, Ronald A. Phoenix: NASA and the Rebirth of Planetary Astronomy. (Texas A&M University Press, 1998).

Tatarewicz, Joseph N. Exploring the Solar System: The History of Planetary Geosciences Since Galileo. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

Launius, Roger D. Frontiers of Space Exploration. "Critical Events in the Twentieth Century Series." (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998).


Contractor Reports and Technical Memoranda


Butrica, Andrew J. X-33 Advanced Technology Demonstrator, Part I: The Policy Origins of the X-33 (HHR-67, fact sheet for Public Affairs Office prepared by X-33 project Historian, February 1998, multilith).

Launius, Roger D. NASA History Fact Sheet (HHR-68, fact sheet for Public Affairs Office prepared for the fortieth anniversary of NASA, October 1997, multilith.)


Monographs in Aerospace History


Hoyt, Diana P. Sputnik, NASA, and the Origins of the Space Age (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 8, 1998).


NASA History Office Annual Reports


Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1997 Activities. (NASA Annual Report, 1998).


New NASA Historical Projects Begun in 1997:


The X-33 Program Office, understanding that it will indeed be making history, has taken the appropriate steps to fund a contract for a historian to document its efforts to build a reusable launch vehicle. The project will record the historical evolution of the complex and revolutionary X-33 program from start to finish in the year 2000. By publishing a book-length history, as well as shorter articles and creating multimedia information, this history project will educate both the general public and policymakers about the importance of the X-33 program. NASA selected Dr. Andrew J. Butrica to execute this contract in a competitive bid process and he started work in March 1997. He will document the revolutionary program’s efforts to build a reusable launch vehicle from start to finish by the year 2000.

The NASA History Office also awarded a contract to historian Andrew Chaiken to conduct oral history interviews with approximately 25 key former NASA officials. The interviews are taking place around the country and transcribtions will become available for use by future researchers.

The History Office at the Dryden Flight Research Center began a project for a monograph on the history of digital fly-by-wire research primarily conducted using the F-8 aircraft. This effort will be for the benefit of NASA managers, other engineering personnel, and posterity. This effort will lead to a fully documented, academically sound book for use by both NASA and the public that will be published in the NASA History Series. The selection process for this project had not been completed at the end of the year.

The NASA History Office began in 1997 a research project leading to a book with the tentative title, "Grand Tour: A History of Project Voyager." This project will lead to a comprehensive, academically sound, well-documented, peer reviewed book-length manuscript acceptable for publication by a scholarly press. The selection process for this project had not been completed at the end of the year.

The Goddard Space Flight Center has contracted with Lane E. Wallace to produce an illustrated history of the Center to commemorate its fortieth anniversary in 1999. Lane Wallace has also authored two previous illustrated histories. Flights of Discovery (NASA SP-4309, 1996) and Airborne Trailblazer (NASA SP-4216, 1994).

In anticipation of the centennial in 2003 of the first Wright brothers flight, the NASA History Office is planning a documentary history of NACA/NASA aerodynamics research. Professor James E. Hansen of Auburn University has been selected to research, select, compile, and edit with introductions, appropriate historical documents. Dr. Hansen is selecting approximately 250-350 documents, with an emphasis on previously unpublished works. This publication is intended to be analogous to the Exploring the Unknown series of documentary histories of the U.S. civilian space program.


NASA History on the Internet:


The NASA History Home Page on the Web is This links to many other NASA sites such as the home pages for NASA Headquarters, the Office of Policy and Plans, the Office of Space Flight, and the Public Affairs Office. We have gotten good feedback on our home page and encourage you to check it out! We also welcome comments on how to improve our home page. See below for more suggestions on finding aerospace materials on-line.

The NASA History Office has also on-line several NASA history publications. These include the following texts, as well as many of the illustrations from the originals:

Launius, Roger D. Apollo 11 at Twenty-Five. (Baltimore, MD: Space Telescope Science Institute, 1994). This is an electronic picture book surveying the Apollo program from May 1961, with its announcement by President John F. Kennedy, to December 1972, when the program ended with the flight of Apollo 17. It was issued on Mackintosh computer disk using hypercard software.

Ertel, Ivan D., and Morse, Mary Louise. The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume I, Through November 7, 1962. (NASA SP-4009, 1969). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Morse, Mary Louise, and Bays, Jean Kernahan. The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume II, November 8, 1962-September 30, 1964. (NASA SP-4009, 1973). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: SP-4009/cover.htm.

Brooks, Courtney G., and Ertel, Ivan D. The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume III, October 1, 1964-January 20, 1966. (NASA SP-4009, 1973). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Ertel, Ivan D., and Newkirk, Roland W., with Brooks, Courtney G. The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology, Volume IV, January 21, 1966-July 13, 1974. (NASA SP-4009, 1978). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: office/pao/History/ SP-4009/cover.htm.

Noordung, Hermann. The Problem of Space Travel: The Rocket Motor. Stuhlinger, Ernst, and Hunley, J.D., with Garland, Jennifer. Editor. (NASA SP-4026, 1995). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: office/pao/History/SP-4026/cover.html.

Swenson, Loyd S., Jr., Grimwood, James M., and Alexander, Charles C. This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury. (NASA SP-4201, 1966). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Green, Constance McL., and Lomask, Milton. Vanguard: A History. (NASA SP-4202, 1970; rep. ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Hacker, Barton C., and Grimwood, James M. On Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini. (NASA SP-4203, 1977). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Benson, Charles D. and Faherty, William Barnaby. Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations. (NASA SP-4204, 1978). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Brooks, Courtney G., Grimwood, James M., and Swenson, Loyd S., Jr. Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft. (NASA SP-4205, 1979). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: History/SP-4205/cover.html.

Ezell, Edward Clinton, and Ezell, Linda Neuman. The Partnership: A History of the Apollo- Soyuz Test Project. (NASA SP-4209, 1978). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Compton, W. David. Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions. (NASA SP-4214, 1989). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: html.

Wallace, Lane E. Airborne Trailblazer: Two Decades with NASA Langley's Boeing 737 Flying Laboratory. (NASA SP-4216, 1994). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Hallion, Richard P. On the Frontier: Flight Research at Dryden, 1946-1981. (NASA SP- 4303, 1984). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Bilstein, Roger E. Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990. (NASA SP-4406, 1989). This book has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: http: //

Garber, Stephen J. Research in NASA History: A Guide to the NASA History Program. (NASA HHR-64, revised June 1997). This booklet has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage in a large (over 1,012 kb) pdf version at History/hhrhist. pdf.

Kloman, Erasmus H. Unmanned Space Project Management: Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter. (Washington, DC: NASA SP-4901, 1972). This booklet has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

Tomayko, James E. Computers in Spaceflight: The NASA Experience. (Contractor Report 182505, 1988, multilith). A relatively unique document, this report covers computers in the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Shuttle programs, as well as for robotic spacecraft and ground systems. This report has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: http://www.

Launius, Roger D., and Gillette, Aaron K. Compilers. The Space Shuttle: An Annotated Bibliography. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 1, 1992). This monograph has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: Shuttlebib/ cover.html.

Launius, Roger D., and Hunley, J.D. Compilers. An Annotated Bibliography of the Apollo Program. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 2, 1994). This monograph has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: Apollobib/cover.html.

Launius, Roger D. Apollo: A Retrospective Analysis. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 3, 1994). This monograph has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL: office/pao/History/Apollomon/cover.html.

Gorn, Michael H. Hugh L. Dryden's Career in Aviation and Space. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 5, 1996). This monograph has been placed on-line on the NASA History Homepage at URL:

The Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1996 Activities (NASA Annual Report, 1997) is available on-line at: presrep.htm.

In addition to these efforts to place published works on the internet, the History Office throughout 1997 added to its presence with a series of other resources placed on-line:

There is now a comprehensive list of NASA History Series publications on the Web at The list indicates whether each book or monograph is in print and if so, where it can be purchased. It also includes links to those works which are on-line.

Our site on the Apollo 204 accident ( won a "SpaceViews Site of the Week" award. We also recently added Mary C. Zornio’s detailed crew biographies to this site.

"Historians and Policymakers" is the first in a series of occasional papers produced by NASA's Office of Policy and Plans. Sylvia K. Kraemer, the Director of Special Studies and former NASA Chief Historian, wrote this interesting article about the interaction between history and policy in government. It is on-line at

We have also placed a search engine on our website at URL: office/pao/History/search.html. One can now utilize this feature to search all the NASA History Web files by keyword.

The X-33 history project aims to document this complex program from start to completion of flight testing in 1999. Developed by Andrew Butrica, the X-33 program historian, this site provides a wide variety of information about the program and many useful links. Dr. Butrica has also developed an annotated bibliography. This site is at http://www/ pao/History/x-33/home.htm.

In light of the Mars Pathfinder landing in July 1997, we placed a chronology of Martian exploration on the web at: History/marschro.htm. This chronology covers both successful and unsuccessful, past and planned, U.S. and Russian/Soviet probes over the years. We have also uploaded an updated bibliography on Martian exploration that can be viewed at: marsbib.htm.

Another new History Office World Wide Web feature is the NASA history "hot topics" page. This page provides responses for some frequently asked questions and points to the latest historical materials available on the web. Check it out at History/hottopic.htm.

To help researchers find their way through National Archives and Records Administration holdings of NASA/NACA documents, the NASA History Office established an on-line site containing information on documents available at the various Federal Records Centers. These are available at:

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of Sputnik the NASA History Office created a well-received History World Wide Web site. We placed on the public server our latest exhibit about Sputnik and the dawn of the space age. Because of the fortieth anniversary of this important event, we assembled documents, images, analyses, biographical information, and technical data on the International Geophysical Year, the Sputnik satellite of the Soviet Union, and the American Vanguard and Explorer programs as a means of encouraging study on this critical twentieth century event. This on-line exhibit is located at URL: http://www.hq.

Also, in response to the interest generated by the fiftieth anniversary of the first X-1 supersonic flight that took place on October 14, 1997 the History Office placed on-line an exhibit on supersonic flight at URL: http://www.

Finally, a World Wide Web analysis showed that NASA history has one of the largest presences on the NASA Headquarters server, with over 1,700 pages (and very few errors.) The errors we are seeking to correct, and we continue to add to the site on a regular basis.


NASA History Program Review Working Group:


On November 5-6, 1997, the NASA History Program Review Working Group met at the Dryden Flight Research Center, in Mojave, California, hosted by the DFRC historian, Dr. J.D. Hunley. This group meets annually to review the status of the history function at NASA and to offer advice on more effective operations and activities. There were two major issues that emerged from this review:

NASA History Publication Program: The reviewers, once again, commended this as among the strongest, highest quality, and most productive efforts in the Federal Government. The NASA History Program currently has 37 different book programs in various stages of production. This is a more aggressive effort than even programs with considerably more resources. This workload requires diligent efforts on the part of the History Office staff.

Records Management Issues: Several different times during the meeting discussions about NASA records management and how better to ensure proper preservation and accessibility emerged. The historical staff has efforts underway to identify the most historically important documents and ensure their preservation. Among these are our database efforts and the imaging of materials prior to transfer to the National Archives, as mentioned above.


Professional Activities:


Members of the History Office staff were involved at several levels in professional activities germane to the aerospace history specialty. The first area was as a participant in various professional conferences. Dr. Roger D. Launius and Stephen J. Garber each participated in conferences and symposia during the year, giving papers and participating in panels. Several staff members also published historical books, articles, and book reviews during the year. A total of 29 articles and several book reviews were published by members of the staff, or NASA contract historians, during the year. Congratulations are also in order for Steve Garber, whose op-ed piece on the Apollo 17 anniversary and space exploration was published in Space News in mid-December 1997.

Steve Garber has also enrolled in Virginia Tech’s Science and Technology Studies program, taking valuable graduate classes in the history of science.


AHA Fellowship in Aerospace History:


The American Historical Association awarded one fellowship for the 1997-1998 academic year; NASA funds this program as a means of fostering serious scholarship in aerospace history. Margaret Weitekamp, a Ph.D. student in American History at Cornell University, is the new American Historical Association’s Aerospace Fellow. During the coming year, she will be working on her dissertation about the 13 women astronaut trainees in 1960.


Conference Sessions and Symposia:


Reconsidering Sputnik: 40 Years Since the Soviet Satellite Symposium


During 1997, in cooperation with the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, and the D.C. Space Grant Consortium, the NASA History Office co-sponsored a well-received conference that attracted much media attention, Reconsidering Sputnik: 40 Years Since the Soviet Satellite, on 30 September and 1 October 1997.

The symposium involved more than 150 participants, and some thirty media who were present for portions of the meeting. Among those present were electronic media representing ABC News, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox, the McLaughlin Group, and German TV. Print journalists included representatives by the usual aerospace periodicals but also the New York Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune.

Featured speakers included Walter A. McDougall, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, …the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (Basic Books, 1986); Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier, aerospace engineer in his own right, and now professor at Brown University; Roald Sagdeev, former Soviet space scientist and present Director of the East-West Center at the University of Maryland; John A. Simpson, University of Chicago space scientist who was involved in the early space program; and Eilene Galloway, one of the authors of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. An additional 26 presenters were involved in the symposium. The reactions of the attendees at the symposium was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

Roger D. Launius of NASA, John M. Logsdon of George Washington University, and Robert W. Smith of the National Air and Space Museum are now in the process of completing a book on Sputnik and its meaning in the period since 1957 with essay contributions by participants in the symposium. Stay tuned for more information on this subject.

Following the successful symposium, the History Office remained busy analyzing the launch of Sputnik and the dawn of the Space Age as Chief Historian Roger D. Launius appeared on CNN Early Prime, participated in the "Science Friday" Talk of the Nation NPR radio show, and presented a paper, "Eisenhower, Sputnik, and the Founding of NASA," at the International Conference on the Public Understanding of Science, Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago, IL.


Other Conference and Symposium Sessions


The NASA History Office organized and Roger Launius moderated the session, "New Views of the Space Race: US/USSR Conflict and Cooperation in the Exploration of Space," at the Society for History in the Federal Government Annual Meeting, Archives II, NARA, College Park, MD, 3-4 April 1997.

On 7 May 1997, NASA’s Office of Policy and Plans held a colloquium at The George Washington University that focused on NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth. This well-received meeting was the first in a series that looks at "unresolved" policy questions facing NASA in the next ten years.

On 16 July 1997, the NASA History Office sponsored the first NACA/NASA aeronautics history team meeting at the Langley Research Center to assess projects underway and chart a course for more effectively recording the history of NASA’s contributions to the development of flight. This meeting represents a step forward in NASA history from focusing almost completely on the space flight arena, and will hopefully continue as we approach the centennial of the Wright brothers famed flight in 2003. Presently, in addition to the documentary history of NACA/NASA research mentioned above, there are several aeronautics history projects underway: U.S. Government In-House R&D in Aerodynamics Development by John D. Anderson, Jr.; Impact of NACA/NASA Langley on Aeronautical Technology by Deborah G. Douglas; History of Flight Research in NACA/NASA by Michael H. Gorn; History of NACA Axial Flow Compressor Research, 1945-1957, by George E. Smith; and History of the National Aerospace Plane, by Larry Schweikart. Thanks to Dr. Jeremiah F. Creedon, Langley Director, for hosting this important event, Gary Price for providing superb support, and Debbie Douglas, resident Langley Visiting Aeronautical Historian, for suggesting the idea and arranging the gathering.

Roger D. Launius of the NASA History Office delivered more than 10 public presentations in 1997. Among the more important were: "History of Space Exploration," Science Policy Lecture Series, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 10 April 1997; "NASA and Information Dissemination on the Doorstep of the New Millennium," speech to Federal Depository Library Conference, Crystal City, VA, 15 April 1997; "NASA History Program Initiatives," NASA Educator Research Center Network (ERCN) Training Conference, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, 30 April 1997, "NASA History Program Internet Activities," NASA Public Inquiry Conference, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, 2 May 1997; "Current NASA History Initiatives," History Symposium '97, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Annual Meeting, Crystal City, VA, 6 May 1997; "Promoting the NASA History Program," Naval History Workshop, Naval Historical Center, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC, 5 June 1997; "Demobilization: The Western Aerospace Industry after World War II, Vietnam, and the Cold War," American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, 7-10 August 1997; "Eisenhower, Sputnik, and the Founding of NASA," International Conference on the Public Understanding of Science, Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago, IL, 2-4 October 1997; and "Quest for Supersonic Flight: The View from Washington," Supersonic Flight Symposium, Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, 17 October 1997.

In January 1997, Steve Garber appeared on the Voice of America television and radio program, "Talk to America," about NASA History and the thirtieth anniversary of the Apollo 204 capsule fire.


NASA Historical Manuscript Receives Prize:


Congratulations are in order to Asif A. Siddiqi, author of "The Early Years of Space Exploration in the Soviet Union," a book project sponsored by the NASA History Office. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics announced that it is the 1998 recipient of the AIAA History Manuscript Award. The award was presented during the 36th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit at the Reno, Nevada. The award is presented annually for the best historical manuscript dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics.


Thanks to NASA History Office Volunteers


David Woods, a volunteer who helped the NASA History Office format many of its histories for the World Wide Web received the prestigious NASA Special Service Award on October 22, 1997. Without his assistance the office would have been unable to create such an extensive presence on the NASA Homepage with its many publications and documents on-line. Our thanks again to David for his excellent work.

Our thanks to Scott Friedman, a summer intern in the NASA History Office, who created new "overlay" pages for our World Wide Web site, dividing our many pages into four categories: Current Events, Publications, Historical Reference, and External Resources.

Our thanks to Eric Jones, who has compiled the extensive "Apollo Lunar Surface Journal" covering the activities of the six pairs of astronauts who explored the moon from 1969-1972. The World Wide Web site is located at This site has been mentioned on CNN and warmly reviewed in Air & Space/Smithsonian.

Our thanks also to the following volunteers who prepared other historical information for the World Wide Web: Mary C. Zornio, Chris Gamble, and David Taylor.


Personnel Update


Many people associated with NASA history over the years have been assisted by the invaluable expertise of Lee D. Saegesser, who has been the NASA Chief Archivist, NASA Office of Policy and Plans. Lee retired on October 31, 1997, from NASA but not from activity as he has a number of things on his "to do" list. Since 1967 Lee has been NASA's Chief Archivist, working in the History Office to build a significant collection of reference documents for use by both NASA personnel and the public, providing historical perspective and documentary support for agency executives and staff, and preparing articles, staff studies and reports for the agency's senior leadership. Lee has performed the critical function of collecting, preserving, and making available documentary materials needed to answer a myriad of questions.

Beginning with two filing cabinets of material in 1967, Lee's "NASA Historical Reference Collection" has grown to more than 2,000 linear feet of primary and secondary historical materials relating to all aspects of NASA's development. Included are periodical clippings, press releases, reports, correspondence, and oral history interview transcripts. Lee has been an institution in the NASA History Office and a critical component of its effort to collect, preserve, and disseminate to the widest possible extent the history and activities of NASA. We will miss him and wish him the best in his future activities.





Roger D. Launius

NASA Chief Historian

January 20, 1998



1. NASA History Requests, 1997