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NASA HQ Orientation Resources

Getting started in a new job can be bewildering, and a new job at NASA is no exception. NASA and its predecessor, NACA, have been at the forefront of flight since the Wilson Administration, and what NASA does can seem mysterious and inaccessible. The purpose of this resource list is to give the newcomer to NASA HQ answers to such questions as:

How old is NASA? What was NACA?
What's the difference between a rocket and a ramjet?
What do the centers do? Is JPL a center, or is it a part of Caltech?

Other bibliographies maintained by the library, such as its lists of hardcopy and online aerospace dictionaries and launch schedules and mission chronologies, will also help you find valuable information about NASA's history and purpose.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: Call x0168 or email Library@hq.nasa.gov for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public: Contact your local library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.

Contents: Books Internet Resources


Bilstein, Roger E. Flight in America: From the Wrights to the Astronauts. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
TL521.312 .B55 2001 BOOKSTACKS
__________. Testing Aircraft, Exploring Space: An Illustrated History of NACA and NASA. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
TL521.312 .B58 2003 BOOKSTACKS
Burrows, William E. This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age. New York, NY: Random House, 1998.
TL788.5 .B87 1998 BOOKSTACKS
Burrows, William E., and Mary Kalamaras. The Infinite Journey: Eyewitness Accounts of NASA and the Age of Space. New York, NY: Discovery Books, 2000.
TL789.8 .U5 B87 2000 BOOKSTACKS
Campbell, Bruce A., and Samuel Walter McCandless, Jr. Introduction to Space Sciences and Spacecraft Applications. Houston, TX: Gulf Pub., 1996.
TL791 .C187 1996 BOOKSTACKS
Damon, Thomas. Introduction to Space: The Science of Spaceflight. Malabar, FL: Krieger, 2001.
TL791 .D36 2001 BOOKSTACKS
Dick, Steven J. (ed.). America in Space: NASA's First Fifty Years. New York, NY: Abrams, 2007
TL789.8 .U5 A44 2007 BOOKSTACKS
Jones, Thomas D., and Michael Benson. The Complete Idiot's Guide to NASA. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books, 2002
TL521.312 .J67 2002 BOOKSTACKS
Launius, Roger D. NASA: A History of the U.S. Civil Space Program. Malabar, FL: Krieger Pub. Co., 1994.
TL521.312 .L28 1994 BOOKSTACKS
Launius, Roger D., and Bertram Ulrich. NASA and the Exploration of Space: With Works from the NASA Art Collection. New York, NY: Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 1998.
TL789.8 .U5 L38 1998 BOOKSTACKS
Lee, Wayne. To Rise From Earth: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Space Flight. New York, NY: Checkmark books, 2000.
TL793 .L32 2000 BOOKSTACKS
Smith, H.C. The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books, 1992.
TL570 .S56 1992 BOOKSTACKS
Talay, Theodore A. Introduction to the Aerodynamics of Flight. Washington, DC: Scientific and Technical Information Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1975.
Note: This book is freely available to everybody as a PDF file through the NASA Technical Report Server (NTRS) as document no. 19760003955. It is also a website.

Internet Resources

Garber, Stephen. NASA History Office. May 12, 2011 [June 14, 2011].
__________. NASA History Series Publications. June 7, 2011 [June 14, 2011].
Note: Many of these titles are available at this website as free PDF files.
Dunbar, Brian. NASA Organizational Structure. April 10, 2009 [June 14, 2011].
Hecker, Michael. Inside NASA. June 14, 2011. [June 14, 2011].
This NASA-only website includes links to the general NASA web calendar, the NASA Picture of the Day, NASA announcements, the current weather, and other useful things.
Internet Archive. NASA Images. Oct. 22, 2009 [June 14, 2011].
This website offers access to NASA's images, videos and audio collections.
Jennings, Nannette. NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS). April 20, 2011 [June 14, 2011].
NASA Center for AeroSpace Information. NASA Technical Report Server. March 1, 2011 [June 13, 2011].
Note: The NASA Technical Report Server, NTRS, allows the general public and NASA personnel to search for NASA's unclassified and publicly available publications. Many of them are downloadable as PDF files, but other materials, such as videos, must be ordered from NASA's Center for AeroSpace Information. NASA contractors and employees are also able to access the NASA Aeronautics and Space Database (NASD), which contains more publications.
Shouse, Mary. NASA: Inside HQ. June 10, 2011 [June 14, 2011].
NASA Headquarters also has a presence on Facebook.
Spencer, Richard. NASA HQ Information Center. May 14, 2009 [June 13, 2011].

Last Updated: June 2011