NASA HISTORY: CALENDAR YEAR 1999 IN REVIEW
During 1999 the efforts of the NASA History Division continued to focus on our core goals in accomplishing the collection, preservation, and dissemination of historical knowledge about NASA. These goals include:
- Continue high quality history publication program.
- Focus on applied historical research efforts of interest and use to NASA executive leadership.
- Aggressively acquire, preserve, and make available documentary information in the NASA Historical Reference Collection.
- Aggressively disseminate historical information and understanding to the broadest possible audience.
- Use technology to collect, preserve, and disseminate NASA history.
- Achieve agency-wide involvement in the preservation and dissemination of history.
We accomplish this by developing 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 calendar year 1999 NASA History Division personnel answered a record total number of 13,273 research requests from government, educational, and private organizations on all manner of divergent research interests. This required a total number of 4,368 work hours by the office staff. Also during the year, the History Division provided research services to 635 on-site researchers using its collections. Table 1 breaks down the number and type of information requests handled by NASA history personnel during calendar year 1999. It shows a peak in usage in July, probably owing to the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing and the significant media and student attention that this event received.
Table 1 also depicts the large percentage of e-mail requests for information that the History Division is receiving. With the advance of this technology, querying the History Division has become easier than ever, and it represents a growing workload that must be met in the future. To enable the office to meet this workload we have begun a series of new procedures:
- Use of volunteers and student interns to handle the majority of the requests.
- Development of standard answers on a variety of subjects maintained on the Code ZH shared drive for answering most e-mail questions.
- Placement of FAQs on-line to minimize the need for personal responses to questions.
- Tracking systems to ensure that requests for information are answered within a reasonable period of time.
While these have aided in meeting the current demands of this rising workload, we are concerned that these requests may soon become unmanageable. Additional options are being explored for dealing with this workload in the future. Some of those options are less than desirable, such as policy decisions not to respond to e-mails and to request all queries in letter form or not to respond to foreign inquiries at all. We remain committed to providing quality, timely service for those seeking information about NASA’s history but the challenges of doing so are becoming increasingly difficult as the number of requests continue to rise.
Additionally, the numbers of requests noted in Table 1 represents a significant rise in total requests for information, and in the time necessary to answer them, over 1998 and previous years. Table 2 graphically demonstrates the rise of information requests from 1990 to 1999. From a low of 601 information requests requiring 762 work hours in 1990, the workload has steadily grown by orders of magnitude to what we have for 1999. While the History Division has been able to reduce the amount of time given to each information request, demonstrating some efficiencies not previously obvious, the annual workload for information requests is more than two full-time equivalent personnel. Since the History Division does not have these resources in-house, we have relied on student interns and volunteers for some of this work, but the rise in the workload is a matter that requires continued attention if we are to meet the requirements of NASA on this score.
Special Staff Studies
A priority during the year was providing background information and documentary records to aid NASA decision-makers in their work. In so doing, the office prepared several types of historical background papers and staff studies on a variety of subjects:
- Launius, Roger D. "Background Paper on Centennial of Flight Commemoration Act" (January 12, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "Walter Cronkite Facts and Quotes about Space" (March 5, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "Non-Russians on Mir since 1992" (March 8, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "Study of Interactions Between the DOD and NASA in Early Space Operations" (March 29, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "NASA as Percentage of Federal Budget" (July 9, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "Background Paper on NACA and Technology Transfer" (July 26, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "The Space Shuttle Decision" (September 9, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "NASA Administrators Tenure of Service" (November 10, 1998).
- Launius, Roger D. "Background Paper on the History of the Space Station Program" (November 15, 1999).
- Launius, Roger D. "Next Steps in Establishing the Centennial of Flight Commission" (November 1, 1999).
History Division Document Management System (DMS)
The DMS began operating in May 1998, and the bugs are being worked out. This system was procured to help alleviate the press of space in the History Division by imaging discreet parts of the NASA Historical Reference Collection—especially high volume collections which are not added to on a regular basis—and then transferring the hard copies to the National Archives while maintaining the electronic version. We 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 Historical Reference Collection. This project accomplishes several tasks:
- preserves unique records of the agency that are critical to understanding the agency and its historical development;
- 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;
- frees space within the NASA History Division for its continued collection of the historically significant documents of the agency; and
- makes these historical materials available to a much wider body of researchers from NASA, other government agencies, the academic community, and the public.
To start the process we requested a review of the viability of placing in electronic form (on-line or on CD-ROM) these materials. We identified several major collections as candidates for placement in electronic form. These included:
- The Mission Operations Reports of all NASA space flights, 1958-Present. We have the only complete set of these available anywhere in the world. (23 linear feet of documents).
- The NASA Current News, 1958-Present. We have the only set that is approaching completeness available anywhere in the world. (42 linear feet of documents).
- The NASA Administrator's Chronological Correspondence Files, 1958-1992. Once again, we have 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 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 acquired the necessary imaging equipment in March 1998 and began work on the imaging task. At present we are concentrating on the Missions Operations Reports, and are working toward a goal of imaging, accessioning, and making available this entire set of documents.
One of the issues explored this past year is the question of how best to organize the NASA Historical Reference Collection in view of the introduction of the electronic document system. For thirty years the collection had been organized according to a system of paper files each containing disparate items about a single subject. It is a practical system, but it appears it is impossible to perpetuate it electronically. The electronic system lends itself to other structures which lack some of the user-friendly features of the paper folder system. Choosing to break from the folder system will require a major decision and strategies to ensure that items can be located without unrealistic staffing demands. It is not yet necessary to answer this structure question, because the archivists are currently scanning only large documents such as MORs. However, should we ever wish to scan the disparate short items that comprise a typical folder and then add more items to that folder over time, the structure issue must be resolved. This effort was on-going at year’s end.
Administrator’s Files Preservation Project
Archivist Jane Odom organized and coordinated an effort in 1999 to develop a comprehensive system for the papers of NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin. This project resulted in the cataloging of his papers, the creation of an electronic database, and their storage in the Federal Records Center. She worked with the Administrator’s office to determine specifications for the final product, met with the HQ Records Manager to establish document disposition procedures, and coordinated with computer personnel to obtain necessary database support. Once completed, there were 128 boxes with 4,392 records in the database. Ms. Odom also created a brief user's guide for the database and collection.
Oral History Projects
During 1999 the NASA History Division undertook the compilation of an "Electronic Guide to the Oral Histories contained in the NASA Historical Reference Collection." This project, completed by Linda D. Voss, Inklings, Inc., was completed in the summer of 1999. Consisting of a name, subject, date, location, and media type index, it allows the office to gain physical control of its oral history collection.
Also during 1999, this office began a joint project with the Johnson Space Center to conduct oral histories of key personnel in NASA history. The focus of this effort, thus far, has been on human spaceflight personnel, however, there are efforts underway to define additional subjects for oral histories. Among them, a "Herstories" effort to interview women in aerospace history.
Finally, on November 1, 1999, the NASA History Division and the Space Business Archives co-sponsored a collective oral history at the American University in Washington, D.C. This workshop recorded the recollection of several key people involved in the development of commercial space policy in the 1980s. It gathered their recollections of efforts to open the region to commercial activities during the Reagan administration. The participants in this oral history included:
- Mark Albrecht, former director of the National Space Council
- James M. Beggs, former NASA Administrator
- Martin P. Kress, former NASA Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs
- James Muncey, Congressional staffer
- James Rose, former director of NASA's Office of Commercial Programs
- Gilbert P. Rye, former director of space programs for the National Security Council
- Robert Walker, former member of Congress
The oral history was moderated by W.D. Kay, Department of Political Science, Northeastern University.
Dr. Kay began by asking each of the participants to make a short opening statement of up to five minutes. They addressed several key issues in their statements: where they were during the 1980s, what space policies they felt needed to be changed during that time, and finally, how they went about making modifications. At the conclusion of these individual statements there were additional comments offered on a variety of subjects relative to the subject. The NASA History Division is in the process of transcribing this oral history and once completed it will be available for public use.
We believe that this event proved both enjoyable for the participants and useful in developing a fuller understanding of the transformation of space policy during the 1980s. Accordingly, we hope that this is the first in a series of re-examinations of key policies and trends in the recent history of spaceflight.
NASA History Office and Space Business Archives Sign MOU
On March 8, 1999, NASA and the Space Business Archives entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperative actions. The major provisions of the MOU call for collaboration in the preparation of inventories and finding aids; co-sponsorship of series of roundtables, workshops, focus groups, or other forums relating to the historical development of space business; collaboration in the preparation of on-line exhibits and publications of documentary materials; and ease of access to each facility by researchers sponsored by the other organization.
On March 9, 1999, the archivist, Terese K. Ohnsorg, departed the NASA History Division for another position, and we worked to hired a replacement civil service archivist. The announcement for this position closed on March 31, 1999, and on April 19-20 we interviewed all candidates for the position. We selected Jane B. Odom, archivist in the Office of Senator Ted Stevens as the new NASA Chief Archivist, and she reported on June 7, 1999. She had an immediate and important impact on the office throughout the remainder of the year. We welcome her aboard.
A very important element of the NASA history program continued this last year 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.
- Rumerman, Judy A. Compiler. NASA Historical Data Book: Volume V, NASA Launch Systems, Space Transportation, Human Spaceflight, and Space Science, 1979-1988 (NASA SP-4012, 1999).
- Swenson, Jr., Loyd S.; Grimwood, James M.; and Alexander, Charles C. This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury (NASA SP-4201, paperback reprint, 1999).
- Heppenheimer, T.A. The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA’s Quest for a Reusable Space Vehicle (NASA SP-4221, 1999).
- Hunley, J.D. Editor. Toward Mach 2: The Douglas D-558 Program (NASA SP-4222, 1999).
- Swanson, Glen E. Editor. "Before this Decade is Out…": Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program (NASA SP-4223, 1999).
- Wallace, Lane E. Dreams, Hopes, Realities: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, The First Forty Years (NASA SP-4312, 1999).
- Dunar, Andrew J., and Waring, Stephen P. Power to Explore: A History of the Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA SP-4313, 1999).
- Logsdon, John M. General Editor. Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume IV, Accessing Space (NASA SP-4407, 1999).
New Series in NASA History
- Bromberg, Joan L. NASA and the Space Industry. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).
Contractor Reports and Technical Memoranda
- Garber, Stephen E. Compiler. Remembering Apollo 11: The 30th Anniversary Data Archive CD-ROM (NASA Electronic Media, 1999).
Monographs in Aerospace History
- Hansen, James R. Enchanted Rendezvous: John C. Houbolt and the Genesis of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept. (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 4, reprint, 1999).
- Braslow, Albert L. A History of Suction-Type Laminar-Flow Control with Emphasis on Flight Research (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 13, 1999).
- Logsdon, John M. Moderator. Managing the Moon Program: Lessons Learned from Project Apollo (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 14, 1999).
- Perminov, V.G. The Difficult Road to Mars: A Brief History of Mars Exploration in the Soviet Union (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 15, 1999).
- Tucker, Tom. Touchdown: The Development of Propulsion Controlled Aircraft at NASA Dryden (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 16, 1999).
NASA History Division Annual Reports
- Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1998 Activities. (NASA Annual Report, 1999).
NASA History Division Books from Other Publishers
- Launius, Roger D. Editor. Innovation and the Development of Flight (Texas A&M University Press, 1999).
NASA Historical Publications in the News:
Space and the American Imagination (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997), written by Howard E. McCurdy and sponsored by the NASA History Office was selected for the Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award. Awarded by the American Astronautical Society, the Emme Astronautical Literature Award recognizes truly outstanding books serving public understanding about the impact of astronautics upon society and its potentialities for tomorrow. Previous winners have included: Arthur C. Clarke, Thomas O. Paine, Bruce C. Murray, and Frederick I. Ordway and Randy Lieberman.
The award committee commented that "Space and the American Imagination is written in a style equally appealing to laymen and scholars. It offers a conceptually sound, historically sophisticated perspective on the development and evolution of American space policy and programs. McCurdy’s use of social science models to structure and explain material ranging from science fiction to federal legislation helps clarify causal connections in what otherwise might appear as a hodgepodge of interesting, but ultimately unrelated, details. Readers confront an engaging interpretation of how ideas can excite the general population and, thereby, strengthen a particular vision sufficiently to survive in public policy, despite sometimes disappointing programmatic results. In a sober, yet compelling conclusion, McCurdy asserts that the catalytic effect of popular culture, while beneficial in the short term, eventually resulted in diminished support for a sustained, large-scale space exploration program."
This award represents the fourth time that a NASA historical work has received the Emme award. These earlier works include: Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., Before Lift Off: The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Karl Hufbauer, Exploring the Sun: Solar Science Since Galileo (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991); and James R. Hansen, Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center from Sputnik to Apollo (Washngton, DC: NASA SP-4308, 1995).
Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian, participated in the 50th International Astronautical Congress, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on October 3-7, 1999, where his book, NASA and the Exploration of Space (New York: Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 1998), received the Luigi Napolitano Award from the International Academy of Astronautics.
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.
- Bugos, Glenn E. Atmosphere of Freedom: Sixty Years at NASA Ames Research Center (NASA SP-2000-4314, February 2000).
- Rumerman, Judy A. Compiler. NASA Historical Data Book, Volume VI: NASA Space Applications, Aeronautics and Space Research and Technology, Tracking and Data Acquisition/Space Operations, Commercial Programs, Facilities and Installations, Personnel, and Finances and Procurement, 1979-1988 (NASA SP-2000-4012, February 2000).
- Maisel, Martin. Et al. The XV-15 Tilt Rotor and Flight Research at Ames Research Center (NASA SP-2000-4517, February 2000).
- Gawdiak, Ihor Y., and Shetland, Charles. Compilers. Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1991-1995: Chronology of Science, Technology, and Policy (NASA SP-2000-4028, March 2000).
- Jenkins, Dennis R. A History of the X-15 Research Aircraft (NASA SP-2000-4518, April 2000).
- Siddiqi, Asif A. Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Race to the Moon (NASA SP-2000-4408, May 2000).
- Heppenheimer, T.A. A Technological History of Space Shuttle Development (NASA SP-2002-4225, June 2000).
- Gorn, Michael H. Separating the Real from the Imagined: Flight Research at the NACA and NASA, 1915-2000 (NASA SP-2000-4226, October 2000).
- Bilstein, Roger E. Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA (NASA SP-2000-4406, December 2000).
- Logsdon, John M. Editor. With Garber, Stephen E.; Launius, Roger D.; and Williamson, Ray A. Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume V, Space Science (NASA SP-2000-4407, December 2000).
- Portree, David S.F. The History of Planning for the Human Exploration of Mars (NASA SP-2000-4519, December 2000).
- Siddiqi, Asif A. Robotic Exploration Missions to the Planets (NASA SP-2000-4520, December 2000).
Books Published by Other Presses
- Launius, Roger D., Logsdon, John M., and Smith, Robert W. Editors. Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (Harwood Academic, April 2000).
- Burrows, William E. The Infinite Journey: Eyewitness Accounts of NASA and the Age of Space (Discovery Books, October 2000).
NASA History Division Annual Reports
- Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1999 Activities. (NASA Annual Report, 2000).
New NASA Historical Projects Begun in 1999:
- Jenkins, Dennis R. A History of the X-15 Research Aircraft (NASA SP-2000-4518, 2000): While this is a famous program that has attracted considerable attention no one has written a full history of its conceptualization, vehicle development, and test effort. What has been produced has been memoirs and popular treatments. This project would provide for this major aeronautical program the type of historical treatment that Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo have received in the NASA history series.
- Siddiqi, Asif A. Robotic Exploration Missions to the Planets (NASA SP-2000-4520, 2000): This will be a study providing an overview of the missions conducted by the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, and the other space faring nations of the world to the planets of the Solar System.
- Portree, David S.F. The History of Planning for the Human Exploration of Mars (NASA SP-2000-4519, 2000): This will be a study providing an overview of the history of the various plans developed since the dawn of the Space Age for the human exploration of Mars. Each type of mission will be categorized, its originators noted, its main elements detailed, and its legacy traced in the development of subsequent mission elements.
- Launius, Roger D., and McCurdy, Howard E. Conquest of Space: The Last Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years (Chronicle Books, 2001): In 1949 Willy Ley wrote the classic work, The Conquest of Space, describing what he thought would happen in the next fifty years in space exploration, based upon what had already taken place up to that time. This book, in some respects, will be a continuation of that earlier effort. The first part of it will focus on the predictions made about space exploration over the last fifty years and will analyze what was predicted and achieved, what was achieved but not predicted, and what was predicted but not achieved.
- Matranga, Gene J.; Jarvis, Calvin R.; and Ottinger, C. Wayne; with Lister. Darlene. History of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (NASA SP-2001-4228, 2001): This work covers the development and flight research of the LLRVs with coverage of the LLTVs and the use of the two LLRVs in a training mode. It will also cover the contributions of the LLRVs to the Lunar Module.
- Bingham, Jeffrey. A New Star on the Horizon: A Political History of the International Space Station (NASA SP-2002-4110, 2002): This work will focus on the decision-making process and political developments associated with the building of the space station between the time of its approval in 1983 and the end of the century.
- Dawson, Virginia P., and Bowles, Mark D. The Development of Centaur Upper Stage and American Rocketry (NASA SP-2003-4233, 2003): This is a project history on the Centaur which will use it as a case study in how technological knowledge has been advanced, over the history of the agency and its predecessor, discuss the nature and development of technological R&D, and analyze the role of technology transfer in the aerospace arena, since the space vehicle has enjoyed an important commercial history.
- Heppenheimer, T.A. A History of NACA/NASA Hypersonic Research Program (NASA SP-2003-4234, 2003): The purpose of this project is to have a professional science and technology historian research document the programmatic, institutional, and technological history of NASA's research related to quest for hypersonic speed (above Mach 3) which has been done over the past five decades. This project is being funded by LaRC's Hypersonic Research Project Office.
- Conway, Erik M. High Speed Dreams: A History of NASA’s Supersonic Transport (NASA SP-2003-4235, 2003): The purpose of this project is to have a professional science and technology historian research and write a comprehensive, peer-reviewed history of NASA's supersonic commercial aircraft program. The history would document the programmatic, institutional and technology history of NASA's research related to commercial high speed research which has been done over the past four decades. This project is being funded by LaRC's High Speed Research Project Office.
- Meltzer, Michael. History of the Galileo Project to Jupiter (NASA SP-2003-4236, 2003): This relatively short study will collect into one place historically significant information relative to the origins, conceptualization, technical and scientific decisions, problems, and developments in NASA's execution of the Galileo program, including the spacecraft's launching of a probe into the atmosphere of Jupiter in December 1995 and the results that have been forthcoming thereafter.
NASA History on the Internet:
During 1999 the NASA History Division, under the leadership of Stephen J. Garber, worked to place numerous materials on-line. Most important, the History Division revised its home page at http://history.nasa.gov. In addition to this conveniently simple URL, there are now several ways to find the information among the thousands of NASA History Web pages. We recommend trying our convenient topical index, as well as our keyword search function and our previous historical subject headings. There is a new "hot topics" page that contains information on frequently asked questions, new publications, and new on-line information. The major new materials placed on-line include:
- The final joint U.S./Russia report of the ISS Phase 1: Shuttle-Mir program is now located at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/osf/station/issphase1sci.pdf on the Web.
- Published in 1985, Living Aloft: Human Requirements for Extended Spaceflight (NASA SP-483) covers some of the most interesting, but least-documented, aspects of spaceflight: the biomedical and personal. Though not in the formal NASA History Series, this book by Mary Connors, Albert Harrison, and Faren Akins should prove to be useful and enjoyable reading for spaceflight enthusiasts, students, and scholars. The book can be found at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-483/ cover.htm on-line. Special thanks to Chris Gamble for scanning and formatting this book for the Web.
- Enchanted Rendezvous: John C. Houbolt and the Genesis of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 4, 1995), by James R. Hansen is a fascinating story of how NASA decided to use the lunar orbit rendezvous mode to get to the Moon for Project Apollo. It is now available at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/monograph4/splash2. htm. In honor of the thirtieth anniversary of Apollo 11, we have also reprinted this monograph. A hard copy is available free of charge from the NASA History Division, Code ZH, Washington, DC 20546, with a self-addressed 9x12" envelope stamped for 15 ounces ($3.20).
- A Meeting with the Universe: Science Discoveries from the Space Program (NASA EP-177, 1981) is now available on-line at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/ office/pao/History/EP-177/cover.html on the Web. Written by a group of NASA scientists for a popular audience, this attractive photo book is not a formal NASA history publication but a "history of space exploration—by NASA, by universities, by other government agencies, and by industries—all of whom have played major roles." Warm thanks to Hans-Peter Engel, who scanned and formatted this special book for the Web.
- We are pleased to announce that a new set of Skylab technical diagrams and drawings is now available on the Web. This set, as well as the sets for Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, is available through http://www.hq.nasa.gov/ office/pao/History/ diagrams/diagrams.htm on the web. In the coming months, we hope to make available drawings and diagrams of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and the space shuttle. Special thanks to Kipp Teague who has scanned all the diagrams and put them in a convenient format for the Web.
- NASA's Space Food and Nutrition, an educator guide with activities in science and mathematics, lists the menus for astronauts from Project Mercury to the International Space Station. The guide also includes information about space food preparation, types of space food, nutrition, and classroom activities. Space Food and Nutrition can be found the Spacelink site http://spacelink. nasa.gov/ products/Space.Food.and.Nutrition on the Web.
- We proudly announce a new addition to our Web site. The fortieth Anniversary of the Formation of the Mercury Seven was celebrated on April 9, 1999. The site, http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/40thmerc7/intro.htm, offers biographies, documents, pictures and other items of interest about the formation of the first group of American astronauts. Special thanks to Chris Gamble for scanning and formatting these for the Web.
- Also in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Mercury Seven, we have added two more documents to our growing Internet resources. These works are the scientific and technical reports of astronauts M. Scott Carpenter and Walter M. Schirra's orbital flights. Results of the Second U.S. Manned Orbital Space Flight (NASA SP-6, 1962) are at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/ History/SP-6/cover.htm, and Results of the Third U.S. Manned Orbital Space Flight (NASA SP-12, 1962) are at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/ sp-12/cover.htm on the web. Included are air-to-ground communications and detailed analyses of the flights. Special thanks to Chris Gamble for scanning and formatting these documents for the Web.
- Donald D. Baals and William R. Corliss cover the early wind tunnels from the days of the Wright brothers to "wind tunnels of the space age" in Wind Tunnels of NASA (NASA SP-440, 1981). This richly illustrated volume is highly recommended for lay readers, scholars, and all those interested in aeronautics history. It can be found at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/ History/SP-440/cover.htm and is also a useful guide to one of the three fundamental ways that the aerodynamic properties of airplanes are tested: in flight, in wind tunnels, and with computer simulations. Special thanks to Chris Gamble for scanning and formatting this book for the Web.
- Wingless Flight: The Lifting Body Story (NASA SP-4220, 1997). Written by R. Dale Reed with Darlene Lister, it tells of the fascinating history of eight NASA research airplanes without wings. This book's clear prose and exciting illustrations are recommended for a wide variety of popular and scholarly audiences and can be found at http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/History/Publications/ WinglessFlight/ on the web. These lifting bodies, which were tested at NASA's (now Dryden) Flight Research Center at Edwards, California from 1963-1975, were important precursors of today's Space Shuttle, as well as the X-33 and X-38.
- Sets of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project and the space shuttle technical diagrams and drawings are now available on the Web. These sets, as well as the sets for Projects Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab, are available through http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/ History/diagrams/diagrams.htm on the web. Special thanks to Chris Gamble for scanning.
- The X-15 Program in Retrospect a lecture by John V. Becker presented in Bonn, Germany in December 1968 can be found on-line at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/x15lect/cover.html This is a useful, concise historical overview of the X-15 program by a noted aerodynamicist. Special thanks to Hans-Peter Engel, who skillfully scanned and prepared this document for the Web.
- Proceedings of the X-15 First Flight 30th Anniversary Celebration of June 8, 1989 (NASA Conference Publication 3105) is now available on-line thanks to the efforts of Hans-Peter Engel. These proceedings include comments by historians, pilots, and others with keen insights on the truly historic X-15 program that bridged aeronautics with astronautics during NASA's first decade, and can be found at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/ x15conf/cover.html on the web.
- Transiting from Air to Space: The North American X-15, the case study by Robert S. Houston, Richard P. Hallion, and Ronald G. Bostonis, is at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/hyperrev-x15/cover.html. It is a long chapter in The Hypersonic Revolution: Case Studies in the History of Hypersonic Technology (Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1998). A key contribution to the literature on the X-15, one of NASA's most successful research aircraft programs, this case study was previously published as a stand-alone volume. Special thanks to Hans-Peter Engel, who formatted this work for the Web.
- The Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1998 Activities is now at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/presrep98/ index.html on the Web. Previous versions are on-line at http://history.nasa. gov/presrep.htm on the Web. The FY 98 hard copy version is being printed and should be available by the end of this year.
- We are pleased to announce a new on-line version of Results of the Second Manned Suborbital Space Flight, July 21, 1961 (NASA, 1961) It is on-line at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/MR-4/cover.htm on the Web. This relatively brief report covers Gus Grissom's flight and the mishap in which the Liberty Bell capsule sunk. It includes the voice transcript of the mission, as well as Grissom's interesting account of the mission. Thanks to Roland Speth for scanning the text and images of this report and making it available for the NASA History Web site.
- Mercury Project Summary including Results of the Fourth Manned Orbital Flight (NASA SP-45, 1963) is available at http://history.nasa.gov/SP-45/cover.htm on the Web. Special thanks to Chris Gamble for formatting this complete work, with scanning help from Roland Speth.
- Space Handbook: Astronautics and its Applications is now available on-line at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/conghand/spcover.htm on the Web. This 1959 publication was a staff report of the Congressional Select Committe on Astronautics and Space Exploration. An interesting historical document, this Handbook includes much information about astronomy and astronautics that we now know to be incorrect. Nevertheless, this document provides a snapshot of the beginning of the space era. Special thanks to John Henry, who scanned and formatted this document.
- In addition, thanks to the efforts of volunteer John Henry, the on-line version of Orders of Magnitude: A History of the NACA and NASA, 1915-1990 (SP-4406) now contains all the images in the printed version. The on-line version is still available at http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4406/cover. html on the Web.
Members of the History Division staff were involved at several levels in professional activities germane to aerospace history during 1999. The first area was as co-organizers of various professional conferences or symposia. Second, 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.
Aerospace History Conferences and Symposia Co-Sponsored by NASA
"Space Exploration at the Millennium: In Remembrance of Carl Sagan"
"Space Exploration at the Millennium: In Remembrance of Carl Sagan," was a symposium co-sponsored by NASA that took place on March 24, 1999, at American University in Washington, DC. The symposium featured presentations by Buzz Aldrin, Yvonne Cagle, Andrew Chaikin, Franklin Chang-Diaz, Hugh Downs, Ann Druyan, Timothy Ferris, Don Herbert, Homer Hickam, Ted Koppel, Bill Nye, Robert Pickardo, Ned Potter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Donna Shirley, Kathy Sullivan, and Jill Tarter, among others.
The symposium offered a retrospective on one of this century's crowning accomplishments: the genesis of space exploration. It included panel discussions, numerous exhibits and displays, and small session meetings with several panelists. It proved to be exceptionally popular. Total attendance was more than 1,800 people, including school groups and many students from American University. The symposium was broadcast live on NASA TV and simulcast on MS/NBC, CBA Interactive, broadcast.com, and several other web-based media outlets. Reports from all of the major daily newspapers and news magazines were quite positive. Local television coverage was also impressive.
"Developing U.S. Launch Capability: The Role of Civil-Military Cooperation"
On November 5, 1999, the NASA History Division co-sponsored a high-profile one-day historical symposium, "Developing U.S. Launch Capability: The Role of Civil-Military Cooperation," at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. The Air Force Space Command, the National Air and Space Museum, the George Washington University Space Policy Institute, and the National Space Society co-sponsored this symposium.
Three panels addressed "The Ballistic Missile Legacy," "Building a U.S. Space Flight Capability," and "Perspectives and Legacies." The presentations included the following:
Session One: "The Ballistic Missile Legacy"
- "Launch Vehicles and the Development of Systems Engineering," Stephen B. Johnson, University of North Dakota
- "Harnessing Atlas: the Legacy of the Early Air Force ICBM Program," John C. Lonnquest, Sacramento Air Logistics Center Office of History
- "Reflections," Bernard A. Schriever
- "Reflections," Ruben F. Mettler
- "Reflections," Simon Ramo
Session Two: "Building a U.S. Space Flight Capability"
- "The Centaur Upper Stage and Civilian Rocketry," Virginia P. Dawson, Case Western Reserve University
- "NASA, USAF, and the Provision of Commercial Launch Services to Geosynchronous Orbit," David J. Whalen, Lockheed Martin Company
- "In Search of a Payload: The Evolution of Civil and Military Heavy Lift Launch Vehicles and the Role of Heavy Lift Capabilities in Space Mission Planning, 1961-1991," Frank Sietzen, Editor, Ad Astra
- "History and Development of Small U.S. Launch Vehicles," Matt Bille and Ericka Lishock, Colorado Springs, CO
Session Three: "Perspectives and Legacies"
- "Genesis of the Space Shuttle and Its Promise," George E. Mueller, Kistler Aerospace, Inc.
- "Reusability and Massive Mission Models," Maxwell W. Hunter, SpaceGuild
- "What Drives Launch Vehicle Technology," T.K. Mattingly, Rocket Development Company
- "'...to the very limit of our ability': Reflections on the Air Force-NASA Forty-Year Partnership," David N. Spires, author, Beyond Horizons: A History of the Air Force in Space
- "A Civilian Perspective," John M. Logsdon, George Washington University
In addition, the symposium honored the unique contributions of Dr. Simon Ramo and General Bernard A. Schriever to the United States’ launch vehicle capabilities. Each received, as a part of the opening ceremonies of the symposium, the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. This medal is awarded only to individuals whose distinguished accomplishments contributed substantially to the NASA mission. The contributions must be so extraordinary that other forms of recognition by NASA would be inadequate. It is the highest honor that NASA confers to a non-government individual.
NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin also delivered a major address on the role of civil-military cooperation in the development of American launch capability. The symposium took place before a packed house of scholars, practitioners, and others at the AAAS auditorium. It was taped and the History Division plans to get at least some of it transcribed for permanent retention in the NASA Historical Reference Collection.
NASA History Sessions at Conferences and Symposia
American Historical Association Annual Meeting
NASA sponsored a very successful session at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington, D.C., entitled, "New Views of Aerospace History: Research from the AHA Fellowship Program," on Friday, January 8, 1999. The lineup for the session was as follows:
- "The Challenger Accident and Engineering Knowledge: What You Don't Know…," Stephen P. Waring, University of Alabama in Huntsville
- "A Hothouse for Civilian Expertise? The Army Air Forces and the Emergence of Operations Research in the United States," Erik P. Rau, Drexel University
- "Human-Machine Systems in Space: The Construction of Progress," Chris Hables Gray, University of Great Falls
- "The Science, Culture, and Politics of the 'Astronauttes': Examining Gender in Aerospace History," Margaret A. Weitekamp, Cornell University
The session was chaired by Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian, and the commentator was Roger E. Bilstein, University of Houston-Clear Lake.
In 1984 the American Historical Association established the Fellowship in Aerospace History, funded by the NASA History Division, as a means of enhancing scholarly study in the field. Modeled on similar fellowship programs administered by the National Academy of Sciences and other organizations, the AHA aerospace history fellowship program has now passed its fifteenth year, and has succeeded admirably in its principal objectives of broadening research and writing in the field.
All of the papers given in this session presented research sponsored through the AHA Fellowship in Aerospace History. It brought together senior scholars, public historians, and younger scholars to explore themes in the "New Aerospace History."
National Council on Public History Annual Meeting
On April 30, 1999, NASA sponsored a very successful session entitled, "Aerospace History and the Challenge of Presenting the Past to Multiple Audiences," at the annual meeting of the National Council on Public History in Lowell, Massachusetts. The lineup for the session was as follows:
- "Presenting the Spirit of Space Exploration through Art: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Artists' Cooperation Program, 1963-1974," Ann Collins, University of Texas
- "A Fistful of Electrons: The X-33 History Project Web Site and Public Historical Knowledge," Andrew J. Butrica, NASA X-33 Historian
- "Going Beyond a Popular Culture Understanding: The ‘Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air’ Exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum," Stephen J. Garber, NASA History Division
Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian, chaired the session, and the comment was provided by Jannelle Warren-Findley, Arizona State University.
Society for the History of Technology Annual Meeting
At the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), on October 10, 1999, in Detroit, Michigan, Stephen B. Johnson of the University of North Dakota's Department of Space Studies organized the session, "Organizing Research and Development for Missiles and Space." This session described the evolution of the social and legal milieu of research and development in the aerospace industry from the 1950s to the 1970s. Chaired by Howard E. McCurdy, American University, the session featured the following presentations:
- "NASA, Monopolies, and the 'Cold War': The Shaping of NASA Patent Policy, 1958-1983," Sylvia K. Kraemer, NASA
- "An Uncertain Legacy: the Management of Technology in the Early ICBM Program," John C. Lonnquest, Sacramento ALC History Office
- "Samuel Phillips and the Taming of Apollo," Stephen B. Johnson, University of North Dakota
- "Finding the Way through the Labyrinth: The Decision to Embark on the European Heavy Satellite Launcher Ariane," John Krige, Centre de Recherche en Histoire des Science et des Techniques (CRHST)
The commentary was offered by Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian.
History of Science Society Annual Meeting
Additionally, "The Politics of Cancellation: Recent Science, the Public Policy Process, and Organized Protest," took place at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 5, 1999. Organized by Roger D. Launius, the session featured the following presentations:
- "The Politics of Monkey Business: How It Came to be that NASA Abandoned the Bion Project," Diana P. Hoyt, NASA
- "Translating Risk: Public Protest of Technologies for Space Exploration," Victoria P. Friedensen, National Academy of Engineering
- "The Termination of the Supercolliding Super Collider," Michael Riorden, Institute for Particle Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz
The commentary was offered by Teresa L. Kraus of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Other Public Venues for Disseminating NASA History
AHA Fellowship in Aerospace History:
The American Historical Association awarded one fellowship for the 1999-2000 academic year; NASA funds this program as a means of fostering serious scholarship in aerospace history. The fellow for this year is David H. Onkst, Ph.D. candidate in American history at the American Univesity, Washington, D.C. His fellowship will enable him to work full time on his dissertation, tentatively entitled "The Triumph and Decline of the 'Squares': Grumman Engineers and Production Workers in the 1960s."
Thanks to NASA History Division Volunteers
Our special thanks to interns Madeleine Short and Nicole Garrera for all their help in 1999. We also thank Eric Jones, who continues to oversee 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 http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/. 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, especially Chris Gamble, who has formatted several books; H.P. Engel, who prepared a number of documents relating to the X-15; Kipp Teague who has scanned numerous photographs and diagrams; John Henry, who prepared a Congressional handbook on space; and David Woods and Frank O’Brien who have created the Apollo 15 Flight Journal. Our thanks to all these volunteers.
Roger D. Launius
NASA Chief Historian
January 17, 2000