NASA History News and Notes

Vol. 17, No. 2 May 2000



Glen Swanson, NASA’s Historian at the Johnson Space Center, was recently awarded the George H. Pendleton Prize by the Society for History in the Federal Government for his editing efforts on ’Before This Decade Is Out’:Personal Reflections on the Apollo Program (NASA: NASA History Office). The book contains personal oral accounts, the majority of which came from the JSC Oral History Project, as well as biographical introductions and interviews of people who were involved in the Apollo Program at JSC. It also contains oral recollections from James Webb, who served as NASA’s administrator in the early days of human space flight, as well as excerpts from Wernher von Braun, Robert Gilruth, and astronauts Charles Duke and Harrison Schmitt.

The Pendleton Prize commemorates Ohio Senator George H. Pendleton, sponsor of the 1883 Civil Service Reform Act that bears his name. This is the second year that this prize has been awarded. Swanson received the award on March 16 during the Society for History in the Federal Government’s annual spring meeting held this year at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.


We are pleased to announce the publication of Computers Take Flight: A History of NASA’s Pioneering Digital Fly-By-Wire Project (NASA SP-2000-4224) by James E. Tomayko. This book details the story of the historic digital fly-by-wire system that operated without mechanical back-up on the F-8C aircraft. This successful project gave industry the confidence to develop similar digital systems on a number of military and commercial airplanes such as the F-16, F-18, and the Boeing 777. The F-8 digital fly-by-wire program contributed a solid base of techniques, as well as strong evidence that such a digital system could overcome real faults and continue to fly successfully. To purchase a copy of this hardcover book contact the Government Printing Office or the NASA Information Center. Order GPO Stock Number #033-000-01220-9. The price is $26.00.

Volume VI of the NASA Historical Data Book (Washington, DC: NASA SP-2000-4012, 2000) was also recently published. This volume, compiled by Judy A. Rumerman, is a continuation of the five previous volumes in the data book set that have covered the two previous decades of NASA’s existence. A fundamental reference tool, this new work presents information, much of it statistical, documenting the development of critical areas of NASA responsibility for the period between 1979 and 1988. This volume includes detailed information of Space Applications, Aeronautics and Space Research and Technology, Tracking and Data Acquisition/Support Operations, Commercial Programs, and Resources. This book is $46.00 (domestic postpaid) ($57.50 internationally), from the US Superintendent of Documents. By Mail: U.S. Government Printing Office, Documents Warehouse, 8610 Cherry Lane, Laurel, Maryland, 20707. By phone: (202) 512-1707 ext. 30273.

Now available is Hypersonics Before the Shuttle: A Concise History of the X-15 Research Airplane (NASA SP-2000-4517) by Dennis R. Jenkins. This monograph is the first history of the X-15 to capture the design, development, operations, and lessons learned of the most productive flight research program ever undertaken. Though initially developed not to support human space travel, the X-15 contributed to both Apollo and Space Shuttle operations. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this monograph please send a self-addressed stamped 9"x12" envelope to NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Mail Code ZH, Washington DC, 20546.


In July 2000, NASA will publish the field center history, Atmosphere of Freedom: Sixty Years at NASA Ames Research Center (NASA SP-2000-4314). Written by Glenn E. Bugos, Atmosphere of Freedom presents in a well-illustrated format the history of the Ames Research Center near Silicon Valley, California.

Forthcoming soon is Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (Harwood Academic, 2000). This work will contain papers from an October 1997 conference on Sputnik cosponsored by NASA, the Smithsonian, and George Washington University. Edited by Roger D. Launius, John M. Logsdon, and Robert W. Smith, the collection includes key essays by Walter McDougall, Sergey Khruschev, James Harford, Peter Gorin, and Asif Siddiqi.

We are also pleased to announce the publication in August 2000 of Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Race to the Moon (NASA SP-2000-4408), a pathbreaking study by Asif A. Siddiqi. This book will be the first comprehensive history to appear on the Soviet human spaceflight program since the opening of the archives in the early 1990s. As a result, it benefits from exceptionally strong primary source materials as well as perspective on an important challenge that helped to define the U.S. space effort until the 1980s.

Black Magic and Gremlins: Analog Flight Simulations at NASA’s Flight Research Center (NASA SP 2000-4520) is a monograph by Gene L. Waltman to be published this fall. This monograph will cover the use of analog and hybrid (analog and digital) flight simulations done at NASA’s Flight Research Center and its predecessor organization under the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) from 1955 to 1975. Among the projects covered in the monograph are the simulations for the X-15 rocket-powered aircraft, the lifting bodies, and the General Purpose Airborne Simulator. The account is rich in personal anecdotes and includes personal accounts by many people involved in the early simulations.


In 1993 NASA published a history of the Johnson Space Center entitled "Suddenly, Tomorrow Came…" (NASA SP-4307), by Henry C. Dethloff. It is now available online through the JSC homepage. The direct URL address for this publication is on the Web.

We are pleased to announce the addition of three new policy documents to the NASA History Web site. The full Augustine Commission Report is now available through a link at on the Web. President Reagan’s remarks on the Space Station from his State of the Union message on 25 January 1984 are also now available at as well as President Nixon’s 5 January 1972 announcement on the development of the Space Shuttle at on the Web. All of these documents can be found on the history site at on the Web. Our special thanks to Marcus Lindroos, who formatted these documents.

David Woods has done a major updating of the Apollo 15 Flight Journal. Three new sections cover the time through lunar orbit rendezvous, LM jettison, and the crew’s subsequent day of rest. An essay on the techniques of LOR (Lunar Orbit Rendezvous) by Frank O’Brien can also be seen. There are many other small improvements to previous sections and many photographs from the mission have been added. Our thanks to David Woods and Frank O’Brien who developed and maintain this site at on the Web.

We have placed on the NASA History Web site the history of the NASA logo, known to all inside the agency as the "meatball." This site is replicated from a similar one located at the Glenn Research Center, where James Modarelli designed the logo in 1959. The executive secretary of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA’s predecessor agency, asked Mr. Modarelli to design a logo that could be used to represent the new agency. You may find this information, as well as a link to the NASA logo usage guidelines, at on the Web.

The NASA History Web site has been updated to include an extensive chronological background of Martian exploration. This site also has several links to more information on different NASA Martian missions and can now be found at on the Web. The online version of the Young Report and other recent assessments of NASA’s Martian exploration efforts can now be explored at on the Web.

Introduction to the Aerodynamics of Flight (NASA SP-367, 1975) is now online at on the Web. While not in the formal NASA History Series, this book by Theodore A. Talay of the Langley Research Center is an excellent primer on aerodynamics that includes many useful diagrams and drawings. A very special thanks goes to Chris Gamble, who scanned this publication and set up all the jpg and html files for Web viewing.

Toward Mach 2: The Douglas D-558 Program (NASA SP-4222, 1999) is now online at on the Web. This book features the transcript of presentations at a conference honoring the remarkable contribution that the D-558-1 Skystreak and the D-558-2 Skyrocket made in the area of transonic research in the 1940’s. Thanks to Monroe Conner and Dill Hunley, who are responsible for posting it to the Web.

The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test (NASA SP-4209) is a book that traces all of the events that led to the cooperative Apollo-Soyuz flight. The book, including newly added images to the web version, may now be viewed at on the Web. Special thanks to Chris Gamble who just recently added the images on the Web site, and to David Woods who formatted the original text document.


On 10 May 2000 the Goddard Space Flight Center Library held an Open House which featured the emergence of electronic books and reading devices, an update of the Goddard Projects Directory, and a demonstration of full text search capability across electronic collections. The April 10th celebration of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s tenth Anniversary was celebrated with special guest Administrator Dan Goldin as well as Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, Representative Steny Hoyer, and other members of the Maryland Congressional Delegation. The new Hubble Space Telescope stamp has been unveiled by the U.S. Postal Service. The Goddard Center also celebrated the Landsat 7’s first birthday. It was launched in April of 1999.

The Stennis Space Center has opened the new StenniSphere, which includes a 14,000 square-foot addition to the SSC Visitors Center, featuring a number of new exhibits. These include needlepoint patches of all the space missions flown by NASA, a Space Shuttle cockpit, International Space Station module, Test Control Center, a "Swamp to Space" and "Evolution of Space Flight" exhibit, as well as a major new Navy undersea exhibit. The Stennis Space Center History Office played an important role in the development of major exhibits in the Center’s new StenniSphere exhibition that opened over the Memorial Day weekend. Personnel of the SSC History Office did the basic research and much of the design of new exhibits in the renovated area of the Visitors Center. History Office personnel assisted in the development of a collection-of-artifacts display that utilizes materials donated from original landowners in the area and retired SSC personnel.


The AIAA is now accepting nominations for the History Manuscript Award. The History Manuscript Award is presented for the best historical manuscript dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics on society. The purpose of this award is to provide professional recognition to an author who makes a major and original contribution to the history of aeronautics or astronautics. The award is presented yearly at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit held in Reno, Nevada, each January. This year the requirements for the award have been modified to include manuscripts that are in their first year of publication, i.e. recently published books. Any book published since 1 July 1999 would qualify under these guidelines. This does not preclude manuscripts in any way but expands the scope of the award and the field of possible nominations.

The deadline date for nominations for this award is 1 July 2000. To request nomination forms or additional information, please contact Katy Scheuerman, Honors and Awards Liaison, at 703/264-7623 or via e-mail at or Tony Springer, History Committee Chair at 703/406-5788 or via e-mail at



The NASA History Division is pleased to announce the inauguration of a "Centennial of Flight" series of books to be published by Texas A&M University Press. This series is intended as a cohesive set of volumes, written for a general readership, that will synthesize the development of flight in the twentieth century. The series editor, Roger D. Launius, invites proposals for a series of relatively small, general interest paperbacks on the history of flight to be published between 2001 and 2003 for the centennial of the first powered flight by the Wright brothers on 17 December 1903. Proposals are especially welcome for syntheses relating to the following aeronautical and astronautical topics:

These various volumes will be some 200 pages in length, published in paperback form, will not contain scholarly apparatus, but should have a good essay at the end pointing the direction to other studies of the subject. Interested persons should contact the series editor: Dr. Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian, Code ZH, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, Voice (202) 358-0383, fax (202) 358-2866, e-mail


The NASA History Office currently has an internship program for undergraduates. We are looking for interns for both the academic year and the summer. The internship is approximately 20 hours per week and college sophomores and juniors are preferred. Interns have the opportunity to take on significant responsibilities in editing, researching, answering information requests, and preparing documents in HTML for the World Wide Web. See on the Web for more information.

Welcome Aboard! Amanda Mellies is the newest intern at the History Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. She is a rising Junior at Virginia Tech University majoring in History and Political Science.


The French institute for Space History awards annually the Robert Aubiniere prize of 5000FF for the best essay in French on the history of space in France and Europe. The closing date for entries is 1 July 2000. For more information contact the Institute’s website at

The 14th Annual Convention of the Society for Literature and Science will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on 5-8 October 2000. The conference is sponsored by the Ivan Allan College of Georgia Institute of Technology, the School of Literature, Communication and Culture, and the Center for New Media Studies. The theme of the 2000 conference is Media: Old and New. Proposals that explore the social and cultural implications of the emergence of new forms of media are invited, as are papers and panels in the type of science and technology studies traditionally presented at the SLS including, for example, medical humanities, gender in science and technology, and the history and philosophy of science and technology. Scholars working in NewMedia, including digital performance and other forms of digital art, are particularly encouraged to participate. For more information, consult on the Web. Please e-mail abstracts, 150 words in length, to Hugh Crawford, at

There is a call for papers for the 2000 Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of the Physical Sciences to be held 22-24 September at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the seminar is to reflect on the current relationship between history and philosophy of science as well as on the possibility for further fruitful interactions between the two disciplines. The seminar will be relatively informal, focusing primarily on discussion. Further information is available at on the Web or contact

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics announces its last call for abstracts for history papers to be presented at a history session scheduled for its 36th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting scheduled for 8-11 January 2001. The topic for papers in support of this meeting relate to historical perspectives on rocketry in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Robert Goddard’s first liquid fueled rocket. Please e-mail or fax a brief abstract or synopsis of the proposed paper, along with paper title and author contact information, to Tony Springer, 703-406-5788, fax 703-406-2116, Information on the conference is available at on the Web.


The X-Vehicles: Advancing the Limits of Technology is a symposium being held 16 June 2000 at the Capital Hill Club in Washington, DC. This one-day event shall provide the aerospace industry and government agencies a forum to exchange and disseminate information regarding past, current, and future experimental X-Vehicle programs. For more information call 703-264-7500 or visit on the Web.

On 5-7 July 2000 the 69th meeting of the Anglo-American Conference of Historians will be held in London. The theme of this year’s meeting is "War and Peace." Contact: Dr Debra Birc, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU, United Kingdom. E-mail:

On 10-14 July 2000 the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International will hold its annual conference and exhibition at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. Contact: AUVSI Headquarters 3401 Columbia Pike, 4th Floor, Arlington, Virginia, 22204. Call (703) 920-2720, fax x2889. Website: on the Web.

On 12-16 July 2000 the Ninety-Nines’ International Conference will be held at the Mission Valley Doubletree in San Diego, California. This year’s theme is "Flight into the 21st Century." Contact: The Ninety-Nines, Inc. International Headquarters, Box 965, 7100 Terminal Drive, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73159-0965. Call (800) 994-1929. E-mail: Website: http://www. on the Web.

On 16-19 July 2000 the 36th IAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, "Propulsion--Key to Exploring New Worlds," will be held at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Contact: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics by writing to 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, Virginia, 20191-4344. Call (800) NEW AIAA. Fax (703) 264-7551. Website: on the Web.

On 31 July–4 August 2000 the Swedish Commission for Military History will host the International Congress of Military History in Stockholm. The theme is "The Total War—The Total Defense during 200 Years, 1789-2000." Contact: Lars Ericson, Information Military Archives, Stockholm, Sweden. Call 46-8-7826919. Fax. 46-8-7826976

On 17-20 August 2000 the Society for the History of Technology will hold its annual meeting in Munich, Germany. Contact: Dr Michael Allen, SHOT Program Chair, Zentralinstitut für Geschichte der Technik, Deutsches Museum, Museuminsel 1, D-80306 München, Germany. E-mail: t7911aq@

On 15-17 September 2000 the U.S. Branch of the Western Front Association will hold its annual national seminar at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Contact: Len Shurtleff, 6915 N. W. 49th Street, Gainesville, Florida, 32653-1162. Call (325) 379-3200, fax x9408. E-mail: Website: http://

On 19-21 September 2000 the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics will host its Space 2000 Conference and Exhibition at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. This year’s theme will be "New Missions, New Opportunities, New Challenges." Contact: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, Virginia, 20191-4344. Call (800) NEW AIAA. Fax (703) 264-7551. Website:

On 27-30 September 2000 the Society of Experimental Test Pilots will hold its 44th annual national symposium and banquet at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Contact: Paula S. Smith, Executive Director, The Society of Experimental Test Pilots, P. O. Box 986, Lancaster California 93584. Fax: (804) 940-0398. E-mail:

On 27-30 September 2000 the Northern Great Plains History Conference, sponsored by Minnesota State University, will be held in Mankato, Minnesota. Proposals for sessions in all areas of history are welcome. Contact: William E. Lass, Dept. of History, Minnesota State University, Mankato Minnesota, 56002.

On 10-12 October 2000 the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society of Automotive Engineers will co-host the 2000 World Aviation Congress and Exposition at the Town & Country Hotel in San Diego, California. Contact: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, Virginia, 20191-4344. Call (800) NEW AIAA. Fax (703) 264-7551. Website:

On 10-15 October 2000 the Oral History Association will hold its annual meeting at the Durham Marriott in Durham, North Carolina. The theme for this year’s meeting is "At the Crossroads: Transforming Community Locally and Globally." Contact: Oral History Association Dickinson College, P. O. Box 1773, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 17013. Phone (717)245-1036, or fax: x1046 or Visit the Web page at on the Web.


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.

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More questions about NASA History in general? Please check out our NASA History Division Home Page at on the Web. 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 or Steve Garber at We also welcome comments about the content and format of this newsletter.