Vol. 15, No. 4 Fall 1998



The NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is seeking an historian to serve on staff. The successful candidate will be responsible for planning, appraising, arranging, and publishing of all NASA Lewis historical documents. Will record and determine subjects for historical treatment. Responsible for the classification of documents, photos, artifacts, etc. to include writing and editing of historical articles. Requirements include a doctorate or masterís degree in history, science, or an equivalent field. The ideal candidate must possess excellent organizational and communication skills. We offer a competitive salary and benefit package. Qualified applicants should send their resume and salary requirements to: Cortez III Service Corporation, Attn: H R Dept., 21000 Brookpark Rd. M.S. 21-10, Cleveland, OH 44135, FAX: 216-977-7139, E-mail:


On 5-6 October 1998, the history program held its annual review of our efforts. For several years we have held these periodic reviews by a panel of outside historians, archivists, and other professionals. The review involved a discussion of the following: overview of NASA History Program; history publication program status review; new historical projects; new methods of contracting for NASA historical works to reduce costs and improve results; and outreach services and staff support. We are working on a report and a set of recommendations arising from this activity.

One issue that emerged was concern expressed by some Center history representatives that there be a more clear relationship established between the NASA history function and the NASA records management function, that a formal position be established, and that appropriate guidance be prepared. Terese Ohnsorg, NASA Chief Archivist, is reviewing of this matter and preparing a set of recommendations.

A second area that requires attention is the establishment of a set of guidelines for the conduct of oral histories within NASA. We must establish standards for the conduct of oral history, both audio and video, as well as the recognized standards for transcription, preservation, and access in both printed and electronic version. This effort must provide recommendations on how best to gain control of the NASA oral histories presently conducted and to ensure their most effective use and dissemination, the possibilities of future technology for the conduct of oral history on video, a set of recommended readings on oral history, and recommendations on next steps in the process. It must also begin the process of developing a "union list" of oral histories held throughout the Agency. We have started a process toward achieving this goal. Comments and suggestions about these issues are most welcome. Please contact Roger D. Launius at the NASA History Office to discuss further.


The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) has selected Walking to Olympus: An EVA Chronology, written by David S.F. Portree and Robert C. Treviño and published by NASA, as the winner of the 1998 Luigi Napolitano Book Award. The award was presented in Melbourne, Australia, on 27 September during the 1998 IAA award dinner.

This monograph was produced through the auspices of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX. Portree, an historian, and Treviño, an engineer working in advanced EVA programs, collaborated on this chronology, which is envisioned as the first part of a larger effort to document the history of space walking. As NASA gets closer to the first launch in the assembly sequence of the International Space Station, this monograph is timely in showing what past EVAs have accomplished and what hurdles had to be surmounted to carry them out.

Copies of the monograph may be obtained by contacting Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian via e-mail at, fax at 202-358-2866, or phone at 202-358-0384.


The NASA History Office was heavily involved in supporting the commemorative events associated with the 40th anniversary of NASA, which dates from 1 October 1958. This included the development of an exhibit chronicling the history of the agency that is on display in the NASA Headquarters, the preparation of several monographs (mentioned below), the development of a 40th anniversary Web site, which we intend to leave up with the information about the beginning of the Agency, although we will change the front page for the next major anniversary. The main page at present remains 40thann/40home.htm on the Web. The site includes relevant on-line publications, key documents, photos, and some audio and video clips. The office staff was also heavily involved in organizing a 1 October 1998 commemorative event in the NASA Headquarters and an event at the Smithsonianís National Building Museum on 16 October 1998. Our thanks to all who assisted with this commemoration.


Our large-format history, NASA & the Exploration of Space, by Roger D. Launius and Bertram Ulrich, released in October 1998 has received much media attention. It has been written up in the New York Times, USA Today, and several magazines. In the 14 December 1998 issue of People it was chosen as one of the top gift choices for the 1998 holiday season. This book covers NASAís 40 years of exploration with beautiful reproductions of works from the NASA Art Collection accompanied by informative narrative text. NASA & the Exploration of Space also includes a foreword by Senator John Glenn and sidebar narratives from a number of well-known astronauts. It is published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang in New York City, at the list price of $60 from the publisher. The on-line book service "" has it available at a discount of $42.


We recently received from the Government Printing Office the latest publication in the NASA History Series, From Engineering Science to Big Science: The NACA and NASA Collier Trophy Research Project Winners (NASA SP-4219). Edited by Pamela E. Mack, this volume is a collection of 16 essays on the NACA and NASA aerospace research projects that received the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy. This award was first received by the agency in 1929 for advances by NACA in engine cowling design, and most recently in 1993 for the Hubble Servicing Mission. From NACA achievements to NASA landmarks this book covers a variety of important NACA/NASA achievements. We recommend it highly for all students interested in aerospace history. How to order: For sale for $35.00 (domestic postpaid), $43.75 (foreign postpaid), from the Superintendent of Documents. By Mail: Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. By FAX 202-512-2250. By telephone 202-512-1800. Order stock number 033-000-01199-7. This book may also be purchased from the NASA Information Center, Code CMI-1, NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Room 1H23, Washington, DC 20546-0001, or call 202-358-0000. An order form for all of the books in the NASA History Series available from the Government Printing Office is also available on-line at: on the World Wide Web.

Also available is NASA Human Space Flight: A Record of Achievement, 1961-1998 (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 9), published early in September. It updates an earlier publication that lists each of the human space flight missions flown by NASA since Alan Shepardís first flight in 1961. This monograph is available free of charge from NASA History, Code ZH, Washington, DC 20546, with a self-addressed 9x12" envelope stamped for 15 ounces ($3). The text of this monograph is also available on-line at pao/History/40thann/humanspf.htm on the Web.

Also just published is NASAís Origins and the Dawn of the Space Age (Monographs in Aerospace History, No. 10), by David S.F. Portree. This monograph contains a short narrative about the launch of Sputniks 1 and 2, the American reaction, and the decisionmaking process that led up to the establishment of NASA on 1 October 1958. The monograph also reprints facsimile documents on the early history of the agency. This monograph is available free of charge from NASA History, Code ZH, Washington, DC 20546, with a self-addressed 9x12" envelope stamped for 15 ounces ($3). It is also available in an attractive on-line version at office/pao/History/monograph10/ on the Web.

The Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1997 Activities, was also published in September. This annual report includes brief summaries of all government aerospace activities, as well as very useful budget and human spaceflight appendices. This report is available free of charge from NASA History, Code ZH, Washington, DC 20546. You may also view the annual "presidentís report" on-line at on the World Wide Web.

We have also just published the monograph, Together in Orbit: The Origins of International Cooperation in the Space Station Program. This monograph by John M. Logsdon covers the very early efforts at cooperation on the space station. It focuses on the time period from 1984 to 1988 as the original international agreements were negotiated with the Canadian, Japanese, and European partners. While this monograph in no way covers the whole story of international cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS), it is an important and useful resource for those who will tackle the larger history in the future. This monograph is available free of charge from the NASA History Office, Code ZH, Washington, DC 20546 with a self-addressed 9x12" envelope stamped for 15 ounces ($3).

Ronald A. Schornís Planetary Astronomy: From Ancient Times to the Third Millennium, sponsored by the NASA Office of Planetary Sciences and the NASA History Office, was released in November 1998. Published by Texas A&M University Press, this book discusses the history of ground- and space-based astronomy, with a focus on the twentieth century. In Planetary Astronomy Schorn looks at what is arguably the world's oldest science, reviewing how society, mindsets, and planetary astronomy have changed over the millennia. He then presents a firsthand account of the triumphs, tragedies, and fiascos in the field, presenting both the nonplanetary astronomers' and planetary astronomers' viewpoints and drawing on hundreds of interviews, direct observation, and extensive documentation to render events with a sense of immediacy and reality. Planetary Astronomy is available in hardcover for $44.95, by contacting the Texas A&M University Press Consortium, John H. Lindsey Building, Lewis Street, 4354 TAMUS, College Station, Texas 77843-4354, telephone: 409-845-1436, toll-free telephone (U.S. orders only): 800-826-8911, FAX: 409-847-8752, Toll-free FAX (U.S. orders only): 888-617-2421.


Joan L. Brombergís NASA and the Aerospace Industry will be the latest volume in the Johns Hopkins University Press New Series in NASA History. Projected to be available Spring 1999, this book analyzes the relationship between NASA and its contractors from NASAís founding through the release of the seminal Augustine Commission Report in 1990.

Roger D. Launius has edited the forthcoming Innovation and the Development of Flight, set to appear in Spring 1999 from Texas A&M University Press. This is a collection of essays, each by a different historian, on aeronautical innovation in the context of both technological and organizational systems.


We are pleased to announce the addition of a major new site, the Apollo 15 Flight Journal, at on the Web. The product of David Woods and Frank O'Brien, this site will contain the complete air-to-ground transcript of this mission, annotated with extensive technical commentary. Inspired in part by the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (, the Apollo 15 Flight Journal also features a foreword by the mission commander, Dave Scott. Currently the Apollo Flight Journal covers the mission's trip to the Moon and it will be expanded in time. We anticipate that scholarly researchers and space buffs will greatly enjoy and appreciate this new product.

The NASA History Office also announces a new Web site with diagrams and technical drawings from Projects Mercury and Gemini, the first two major NASA human spaceflight programs. Take a look at the switches in the interior of the spacecraft or the parachute landing system. The diagrams come from contractor familiarization manuals and NASA press kits. Our special thanks to Kipp Teague who scanned these documents and set up the files in a very accessible way. The Mercury diagrams may be seen from and the Gemini diagrams may be seen from on the Web. Please stay posted for diagrams on later NASA human spaceflight programs.

The complete version of Vanguard: A History (NASA SP-4202, 1970) is now available on-line at on the Web. This book by Constance McLaughlin Green and Milton Lomask was previously available in text-only format in conjunction with our site related to the 40th anniversary of Sputnik. Our sincere thanks to Hans-Peter Engel, who has scanned and added all the photos and diagrams, and corrected some hyperlink problems.

We have also placed on-line X-15 Research Results With a Selected Bibliography (NASA SP-60, 1965) is now available on-line at This short book by Wendell H. Stillwell is a useful guide to the historic, but often underappreciated, X-15 program. While the book was written approximately half-way through the program and is not a part of the formal NASA History Series, it still contains a significant amount of data and a number of clear charts and photos. Kudos go to Hans-Peter Engel, who did a great job scanning and formatting all the text and images for the Web.

We are also pleased to announce that The High Speed Frontier: Case Histories of Four NACA Programs, 1920-1950 (NASA SP-445, 1980) is now available on-line at on the Web. This book by John V. Becker tells the stories of the high-speed airfoil program; transonic wind tunnel development; high-speed propeller program; and the high-speed cowlings, air inlets and outlets, and internal-flow systems. This short book is a good primer on some of the groundbreaking aeronautics work that NASA's predecessor organization did. Our special thanks go to Chris Gamble, who formatted the text and scanned all the photos for this attractive Web version.

Also dealing with aeronautics, we are proud to have Quest for Performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft (NASA SP-468, 1985) on-line at This generously illustrated book is an excellent overview to the development of the airplane during the twentieth century. The first section covers propeller planes and the second section covers subsonic jet aircraft. Written by Laurence K. Loftin, Jr., this book focuses on U.S. aircraft and the roles that the NACA and NASA had in their development. While not a part of the formal NASA History Series, this could be a very useful book for those interested in aeronautics history. Chris Gamble undertook this major Web project, formatting the scanned text and scanning hundreds of images, so we offer a special thanks to him.


The NASA History Office currently has an internship program for undergraduates. We are looking for interns for both the academic year and summers. The unpaid internship would be approximately 20 hours per week. College sophomores and juniors are preferred. The intern will have the opportunity to take on significant responsibility in editing, doing research, answering information requests, and preparing documents in HTML for the World Wide Web. See on the Web for more information.


The annual meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government will be held on Thursday and Friday, 18-19 March 1999, at Archives II, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland. Individuals may submit proposals for complete sessions or individual papers on topics of historical interest to Society members. Proposals should include a one-page abstract of the session or paper and brief resumes of proposed participants. The deadline for submissions of proposals is 15 December 1998. They should be mailed to: SHFG 1999 Program Committee, Society for History in the Federal Government, Box 14139 Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044-4139.

The organizers of the session, "Long and Short Term Variability in the Sunís History and Global Change," seek proposals for papers. The session will take place at the Assembly of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy (IAGA) in Birmingham, England, in July 1999. Paper proposals are due on 15 January 1999 to Dr. Wilfred Schroeder, Hechelstrasse 8, D-28777 Bremen-Roennebeck, Germany.

The Interdivisional History of Physics Group of the European Physical Society, with the Commission on the History of Modern Physics is seeking papers for presentation at the 4th European Physical Society Conference on the History of Physics, "Volta and the History of Electricity," to be held on 11-15 September 1999 at Pavia University, in Italy. Deadline for submission is 1 May 1999. For more information check the Web site at URL: or e-mail:

The International Committee of Historical Sciences will hold its 19th international congress in Oslo, Norway, on 6-13 August 2000. It invites proposals for presentations on all subjects. Contact the 19th International Congress of Historical Sciences, Department of History, P.O. Box 1008, Blindern, N-0315, Oslo, Norway.


"The World Takes Flight" was a major conference on aviation/aerospace history held on 1-3 October 1998, at Wright State University, Dayton, OH. Focusing on the first century of powered flight, the conference included presentations on three thematic areas: Flight and Society; Flight and Public Policy; and Flight Technology. Both Roger Launius and Steve Garber from the NASA History Office were involved in organizing and participating in this event. Roger Launius was co-organizer and thematic chair for the "Flight and Public Policy" sessions. He also presented the paper, "A Case of Too Little, Too Late? Aerospace Policy and the Development of Flight in America," at the opening plenary session on 1 October; chaired two sessions during the course of the conference, and served as a panelist on the capstone session, "The Future of Aerospace."

This conference was well attended, with more than 350 present, more than 50 of whom were presenters; received television and print media coverage; and enjoyed broad popularity. Many participants would like to make this an annual, or at least a biennial, event.


On 7-10 January 1999 the American Historical Association will hold its annual meeting in Washington, DC. Contact the American Historical Association, 400 A Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003, 202-544-2422.

On 22-25 April 1999 the Organization of American Historians will meet in Toronto, Ontario Canada. For information contact: Organization of American Historians, 112 Bryan Street, Bloomington, IN 47408, 812-855-7311, fax: 812-855-0696, e-mail:

On 17-18 March 1999 the American Astronautical Society is hosting the Goddard Memorial Symposium in Greenbelt, MD. For more information contact the AAS Business Office, 6352 Rolling Mill Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22152-2354, telephone 703-866-0020, e-mail:

On 18-19 March 1999 the Society for History in the Federal Government will meet at Archives II, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD. For more information contact, Society for History in the Federal Government, Box 14139 Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044-4139.

On 22-25 March 1999 the American Association of Museums and the National Air and Space Museum will hold the annual Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums Seminar in Washington, D.C. For more information, please call 202-218-9114 or send and e-mail to

On 24 March 1999 the American University will be hosting a conference, "Space Exploration at the Millennium," on its campus in Washington, D.C. For further information check out the Web page at or contact Dr. Richard Berendzen, at 202-885-2798, or

On 26-28 March 1999 the Haas Business School and the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, is sponsoring a conference on R&D Investment and Economic Growth in the 20th Century." For further information visit r&d/call.html or contact John Douglass (Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley) at or 510-643-9211.

On 29 April-1 May 1999 the National Council on Public History will hold its annual meeting in Lowell, MA. For more information contact, NCPH Executive Offices, 425 University Blvd., Cavanaugh 327, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140, 317-274-2716, e-mail:

Other Recent Books of Interest

Bean, Alan. Apollo: An Eyewitness Account by Astronaut/Explorer Artist/Moonwalker. Shelton, CT: The Greenwich Workshop Press, 1998.

Burrough Bryan. Dragonfly: NASA and the Crisis Aboard the Mir. New York: Ballinger Pub. Co., 1998.

Burrows, William E. This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age. New York: Random House, 1998.

Day, Dwayne A., Logsdon, John M., and Latell, Brian. Editors. Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellite. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998.

Dean, Jodi. Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

Disch, Thomas M. The Dreams Our Stuff is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World. New York: The Free Press, 1998.

Harland, David M. The Space Shuttle: Roles, Missions and Accomplishments. Chicester, England: Wiley-Praxis, 1998.

Piszkiewicz, Dennis. Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

Shirley, Donna, and Morton, Danelle. Managing Martians. New York: Broadway Books; 1998.

Zimmerman, Robert. Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1998.

NASA History News and Notes is published quarterly by the NASA History Division, Office of Policy and Plans, Code ZH, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546.

You can now receive NASA History: News and Notes via e-mail. 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. We also post the latest issue of this newsletter on the World Wide Web at nltrc.html.

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