National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Vol. 13, No. 3 Summer 1996


FY 1995"President's Report" is Out

New Monograph on Hugh Dryden Available

To See the Unseen gets Excellent Reviews

Exploring the Unknown Documentary History Series

New GPO Brochure for NASA History Books

More Forthcoming NASA History Books

Martian Exploration Bibliography Available

Surfing the Internet for Aerospace History

Calls for Papers

Space History Manuscripts Solicited

Upcoming Meetings



The Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1995 Activities, has just arrived from the printers. In addition to narrative summaries of thirteen executive branch agencies' aerospace activities for the past fiscal year, this report also contains useful appendices that cover historical budget information, space launches, and human space flights. Commonly known as the "President's Report," a copy can be had for the asking. We also plan to post it on the Internet for the first time and will relay the appropriate address soon. The NASA History Office also has back copies of some past editions available.


Want to know more about Hugh Dryden? Michael H. Gorn has written a fascinating new "Monograph in Aerospace History" entitled Hugh L. Dryden's Career in Aviation and Space. It provides a foretaste of Gorn's full-length biography of Dr. Dryden that will be published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1998. This monograph is expected back from the printers any day and will be available free of charge.


We are pleased to announce that the recently published To See the Unseen: A History of Planetary Radar Astronomy, by Andrew J. Butrica, has received excellent reviews. In this illuminating history of a little-understood discipline, Butrica describes important increases in scientific knowledge resulting from the use of planetary radar astronomy during the past 50 years. By carefully aiming radio signals at planets and asteroids, scientists can detect and analyze the resulting echoes. Leonard David, writing in the 29 July - 4 August 1996 edition of Space News gave it a very favorable review:

The unique attributes of radar that enlarge scientific knowledge about our planetary neighborhood are captured in this appealing account, written under the NASA history series banner. Butrica opens the saga during the 1940s when investigators first bounced radar waves off the moon. Later uses of radar included studying Venus, helping target the landing of robotic craft on Mars, detecting ice on the sun-baked planet Mercury, as well as producing the first three-dimensional images of an asteroid. The author weaves a readable tale about people, projects, and the role of big science and technology that molded planetary astronomy into the productive research tool it is today.

Very readable, yet rigorously written, this book is recommended for anyone interested in space science or the Government's role in large science projects. 301 pages, illustrated, hardcover with dustjacket, stock no. 033-000-01163-6, $26.00 postage paid. To fax orders, call 202-512-2250; to telephone call 202-512-1800.


Also available is Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume I, Organizing for Exploration, John M. Logsdon, general editor, with Linda J. Lear, Jannelle WarrenFindley, Ray A. Williamson, and Dwayne A. Day, coeditors. (Washington, D.C.: NASA SP4407, 1995, pp. vii, 795; hardcover with dustjacket, $43.00 per copy, postpaid). Published in late 1995, this book is so popular that we are already printing a second run. Leonard David, reviewing the book in the 26 February - 3 March 1996 edition of Space News calls Exploring the Unknown "an essential reference from the NASA History Series for students and scholars....[It is w]ell edited and includes a comprehensive index that makes it easy to find topics of interest."

This volume contains more than 150 key documents, many of which appear here for the first time. Each is introduced by a headnote providing context, bibliographical details, and background information necessary to understand the document. These are organized into four major sections, each beginning with an introductory essay that keys the documents to major events in the history of the space program. A number of professors have already incorporated this book into their reading lists for courses on space history. See below for information regarding the upcoming second volume. To purchase this book contact the Government Printing Office at 202-512-1800 or fax at 202-512-2250 and mention stock number 033-000-01160-1.

Coming on the heels of the successful first volume, the NASA History Office is currently hard at work editing Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program; Volume II: External Relationships. The second volume will cover such important topics as NASA relations with the military, foreign space agencies, and NASA-industry-university relations. Organized in a similar format as Volume I, this book should be exceptionally useful to students of space exploration.


The Government Printing Office (GPO) has just released a new brochure highlighting the NASA History books that it sells. The colorful brochure includes ten books in the categories of NASA management histories, general reference works, NASA field center histories, and NASA project histories. These are all useful and interesting works at reasonable prices. Please contact our office at 202-358-0384 for a copy of this brochure or look for it on the NASA History home page soon.


Flights of Discovery: 50 Years at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center will be available soon. This beautifully illustrated history spans a variety of flight research projects at Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. Research first began at the Muroc site in 1946 with work on the famous X-1 aircraft, which broke the sound barrier in October 1947. This book describes how a small organization in the Mojave Desert has influenced progress in aeronautics.

Need a copy of Stages to Saturn? We are proud to announce that we will be reprinting this classic technological history of the Saturn launch vehicles that were used in the Apollo missions. Originally published in 1980, this well-received book by Roger E. Bilstein has been out of print for several years. Stay posted for a reprinting date.

We are pleased to announce the forthcoming Aiming at Targets: The Autobiography of an Aerospace Manager, by Robert C. Seamans, Jr. Dr. Seamans was NASA Deputy Administrator for much of the Apollo program during the 1960s and continued his distinguished career in Government as Secretary of the Air Force and head of the Energy Research and Development Agency in the 1970s. A memoir prepared in 1994 provides the basis for this autobiography. Dr. Seamans shares his insights on managing complex technological endeavors in highly readable prose that provides many lessons for contemporary audiences.


In response to the recent excitement over the possibility of prior life on Mars, the NASA History Office has prepared a selected, annotated bibliography on Martian exploration. Please feel free to drop by our office or call for a free copy.


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has announced a new pilot online search system, the NARA Archival Information Locator (NAIL). NAIL contains descriptions of more than 200,000 different documents, photographs, sound recordings, and video clips. While the database is very large, it contains only a small portion of NARA's overall holdings. NAIL is located at

There is a new Web site where users can read books on lunar and related exploration (including Mars) and contribute electronic book reviews or synopses. It is located at

What were the political implications of placing a flag on the Moon during the Apollo missions? Annie Platoff has placed a paper on this topic online at There is also a Web page on U.S. space pioneers at

There is a new unofficial home page for information on the Hubble Space Telescope and in particular, its Optical Telescope Assembly. The address is

The JPL Archives home page on the Web is now up and running. Interested users should go to

What is MSL? Mike's Spacecraft Library is a useful spacecraft and launch vehicle database that a JPL employee started and has been updated. It resides at

Back issues of the Russian Aerospace Guides are now available electronically at the following site:


The National Council on Public History invites proposals for papers, sessions, panels and workshops for its 1-4 May 1997 annual meeting to be held in Albany, New York. The Program Committee encourages innovative, nontraditional presentations that emphasize historians' commitment to public outreach and that address the conference theme "Public History and Public Memory." Suggested topics include: public institutions as keepers of society's memories; professional historians as preservers of the past; interactions between institutions, historians, audiences, and the media. Proposals should include a 200-300 word essay stating the focus, thesis, methodology and significance of the session, panel, workshop, or paper, and a 200-300 word prospectus for each included paper/presentation. Names, addresses, phone numbers, and fax and email addresses for all proposed participants, as well as a short summary vita (one paragraph) for each should be included. Submit proposals to John R. Jameson, Department of History, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242-0001. Phone (330) 672-2492. The deadline is 31 August 1996.

Paper and session proposals are welcomed for the "Cincinnati Symposium on Computers and History: The Future of History in the Electronic Age" to be held 2-3 May 1997, at the University of Cincinnati. The conference organizers encourage proposals on all topics concerning the application of computer technologies to historical endeavors. Contact Dennis A. Trinkle, Department of History, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0373; One-page abstracts should be sent by 31 October 1996.

The annual meeting of the West Coast History of Science Society will be held 12-13 April 1997 on the campuses of the Claremont Colleges. The theme of the meeting will be "Mastering Nature, Mastering the World: Science and Power." Professor Joan Cadden will be the featured speaker. This meeting traditionally provides a friendly forum where graduate students can present their work and more established scholars can let their colleagues know what they have been up to. Presentations should run about 20 minutes. Please send paper titles and requests for lodging information to Pamela H. Smith, President-Elect, History Department, 551 No. College Ave., Pomona College, Claremont, CA 91711-6337. The deadline for submission of paper and/or session titles (please include a short abstract) is 31 January 1997.

The program committee of the 33rd annual meeting of the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Biology and Medicine, 11-12 April 1997, at Yale University School of Medicine, invites proposal abstracts of no more than 300 words on all aspects of the history of biology, medicine, and the life sciences. Contact Joint Atlantic Seminar 1997, c/o Section of the History of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, L132 Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510; 203/785-4338; The deadline is 31 January 1997.

CRM, a National Park Service publication dedicated to cultural resource management issues, will publish a special issue on the history of science and technology in the fall of 1997. The editors welcome proposals for articles that examine the challenges and opportunities for studying these subjects through the identification, preservation, and interpretation of related cultural resources in the private sector and government. Articles may range in length and scope from short notices about specific historic site and collections, to longer feature and review essays. The editors also welcome items about exhibits, special events and programs and book reviews. Please contact Leonard DeGraaf, Edison National Historic Site, Main Street and Lakeside Avenue, West Orange, New Jersey 07052, 201-736-0550, ext. 22, email:

Wright State University is planning a major conference on the first century of aviation/aerospace history for 1-3 October 1998. Conference organizers are seeking individual paper and panel proposals reflecting themes of flight and society, flight and public policy, and flight technology. Please contact the Aviation History Conference, Conferences and Events, Room E180 Student Union, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45434-0001. Paper/panel proposals are due 1 November 1997.


Space history manuscripts are now being solicited by the Smithsonian Institution Press History of Aviation Book Series. Since its inception in 1989, the series has become one of the world's preeminent publishers of aviation titles. The editors, Drs. Von Hardesty and Michael Gorn, hope to broaden its appeal by introducing volumes on space. The press seeks manuscripts not only on the technology and operation of space vehicles, but on issues such as the scientific objectives, the social ramifications, and the political context of space exploration. The press will publish works of original scholarship written for the broadly educated public. Manuscripts should be in the range of 500 double spaced pages with generous margins. For further information, please contact the series editors at the National Air and Space Museum, Aeronautics Department, Mail Code 312, Room 3312, 7th and Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20560 or call 202-357-2515.


The Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom will be held 2 - 8 September 1996. This internationally known show has a Web home page:

The Oral History Association Annual Meeting will be held in Philadelphia, 10-13 October 1996. The theme will be "Oral History, Memory, and the Sense of Place." Among the featured speakers are Robin D.G. Kelley (New York University) and Spencer Crew (Smithsonian Institution). For registration information, contact the Oral History Association, P.O. Box 97234, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798-7234. Phone: 817-755-2764; fax 817-755-1571; email:

The tentative program for the meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, to be held in Cleveland on 1-3 November 1996, is on the Web at Then click on the PSA96 button. For more information, contact Lindley Darden, PSA96 Program Chair, Department of Philosophy, 1125A Skinner Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, 301-405-5699, 301-405-5696 (Rob Skipper, PSA96 grad asst), fax 301-405-5690, email:

"Here and Now: Improving the Presentation of Contemporary Science and Technology in Museums and Science Centres" will be a special conference at the London Science Museum on 21-22 November 1996. Leading journalists, scientists and the museum community will identify strategies to address the urgent issues associated with presenting contemporary science in museums and science centres. On 23 November, there will be an additional event focusing on the presentation of biotechnology through museums and science centres. For a list of speakers and sessions, email Rebecca Mileham at, or look at For a leaflet and booking form, please send a message to or write to Rebecca Mileham, Exhibitions Unit, Science Museum, London SW7 2DD, UK. Telephone 44 (0)171 938 8047 Fax 44 (0)171 938 9773.

The American Astronautical Society's national conference and 43rd annual meeting is slated for 9-11 December 1996 in Houston. For more information, please contact the AAS at 703-866-0020, fax 703-866-3526, email

The National Air and Space Museum and the American Association of Museums are cosponsoring the tenth annual seminar on mutual concerns for air and space museums. Last year's event was attended by over 100 people, representing over 70 domestic and international organizations. The 1997 seminar will be held the week of 17 March at the Capitol Holiday Inn, near the National Air and Space Museum. For further information, please contact Pamela Blalock, Office of Cooperative Programs, NASM MRC 321, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, 202-357-4473, email NASEM013@SIVM.SI.EDU.

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of Thomas A. Edison's birth, the National Park Service, Edison National Historic Site; the Organization of American Historians and the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance will sponsor a conference, "Interpreting Edison," on 25-27 June 1997. This conference, which will be held at Rutgers University in Newark and at the Edison Site in West Orange, NJ, will convene educators, museum curators, interpreters, scholars from a variety of disciplines, and the public for a critical examination of Edison's impact on innovation, manufacturing, business, and popular culture. The conference will also explore Edison's role as inventor, entrepreneur and cultural figure; the role of his laboratories in Newark, Menlo Park, West Orange, and Fort Myers in the development of technology and science; and the role of the National Park Service and other agencies in preserving and interpreting the Edison story. For more information, contact Leonard DeGraaf, Edison National Historic Site, Main Street and Lakeside Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052, 201-736-0550, x22, email:


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announces new collaborative research grants for up to three years of support for original, full or parttime research undertaken by two or more scholars. Eligible activities include the editing of works or documents that have been previously inaccessible; translating into English works that provide insight into the history, literature, philosophy, and scientific and artistic achievements of other cultures; basic research in the humanities, especially research that promises to break new ground or offer fresh perspectives; and conferences designed to advance the state of research in a field or topic of major importance in the humanities. Information and application guidelines and forms are available electronically at or by contacting the program office. Division of Research and Education Programs, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20506; 202/6068210; Deadline for applications is 1 September 1996.

The National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Public Programs announces the latest round of applications for its public humanities programs. Potential applicants should use current guidelines for individual programs (Media, Museums, Libraries, and Special Projects), keeping in mind the division's new priorities. The NEH's mission is to provide opportunities for the American public to explore human history and culture through the humanities. Their programs take place in museums, historical organizations, libraries, and community centers, and on public television and radio. The division will continue to give priority to proposals that are grounded in solid scholarship and present important ideas through programmatic excellence, national outreach, wide access, and educational focus. For more information, call NEH at 202-606-8267 or email PUBLICPGMS@NEH.FED.US. The deadline is 16 September 1996.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars offers approximately 35 residential fellowships. Fellows are usually associated with one of the center's seven programs, which include historical, cultural, literary, and United States Studies. Application forms are available from the Fellowships Office, The Woodrow Wilson Center, 1000 Jefferson Drive SW, SI MRC 022, Washington, DC 20560; 202-357-2841; fax 202-357-4439;; The deadline is 1 October 1996.

The DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Museum of Medical Research at the National Institutes of Health invites applications for the Stetten Memorial Fellowship in the history of twentieth-century biomedical sciences and technology. The fellowship supports either one year of dissertation research or up to one full year of postdoctoral work for a fellow in residence at the museum. The annual stipend ranges from $12,000-17,000 for a predoctoral appointment and from $25,000-28,000 for a postdoctoral appointment. The fellowship is funded by a nonfederal organization, the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, Inc. (FAES). For application materials, write to Ms. Lois Kochanski, Executive Director, Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, Inc., 1 Cloister Court, Bethesda, MD 20814-1460. The deadline for receipt of applications is 16 December 1996.

A Mellon Foundation postdoctoral teaching-research fellowship is available in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. Applicants are encouraged from any of the four component fields of Science and Technology Studies: sociology of science and technology; history of science and technology; philosophy of science and technology; politics and policy of science and technology. Applicants must have received the Ph.D. degree after September 1991. Applicants who will receive the Ph.D. degree by 30 June 1997 are eligible to apply. The postdoctoral teaching-research fellowship will begin 1 July 1997 and offers a stipend of $28,000. Fellowships are limited to citizens of the United States, Canada, or those with permanent U.S. residency cards. To apply, please contact: Ms. Agnes Sirrine, Program Administrator, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowships, Cornell University, A.D. White Center for the Humanities, 27 East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853-1101 Telephone: 607-255-9274. All application materials (including letters of recommendation) must be postmarked by 4 January 1997.

You can now receive NASA History: News and Notes via email. This will save NASA time and money in mailing, and will also help deliver this information faster. To subscribe send a message to Leave the subject line blank. In the text portion simply type "subscribe history" without the quotation marks. You will receive confirmation that your account has been added to the list for the newsletter and to receive other announcements that may interest you.

More questions about NASA History? Please check out our NASA History Home Page at The general public is also invited to come to our office in person to do research. For further information, please contact our office at 202-358-0384, fax 202-358-2866. Email Roger D. Launius at or Steve Garber at We also welcome comments about the content and format of this newsletter.