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Thinking About NASA History

The NASA History Program was started shortly after the Agency itself was established over forty years ago. The NASA History Office serves two key functions: widely disseminating aerospace information and helping NASA managers to understand and learn from past successes and failures. Thus, we have both internal and external audiences.

In addition to being part of the wider NASA community, the NASA History Office also interacts extensively with the professional historian community. Because of the technical nature of NASA’s work, we also work closely with our peers in the history of science and technology fields.

The work of these specialists tends to overlap with those who are involved in the field of history of science and technology (S&T) or the science and technology studies (STS) interdisciplinary field. While STS sometimes goes by different names, it typically includes the components of history, sociology, and philosophy of science and technology. STS is basically a social science approach to thinking about natural science and engineering.

One of our main products is the NASA History Series of publications. These are usually analytical but not highly technical and thus should be accessible to lay audiences. Our publications are also designed to serve as background information for present-day policy-makers.

The materials in this folder are designed to familiarize scientists and engineers with how NASA History Office publications are researched, written, and produced. This folder is also meant to familiarize nonhistorians with the craft of history by providing some models of good history and thought patterns of good historians. Historians who are unfamiliar with aerospace history may also be interested in these materials.

We hope you find these materials useful and encourage your comments and questions. Thank you for your interest in NASA history.

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Updated July 14, 2003
Steve Garber, NASA History Web Curator
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