National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Vol. 13, No. 2 Spring 1996


New NASA History Publications

Forthcoming NASA History Publications

NASA History Activities and People

NASA History Online

Surfing the Internet for Aerospace History

Calls for Papers

Upcoming Meetings

Free Books

People in the News


Now available for purchase is the latest volume in the NASA History Series, Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program, Volume 1, 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 volume is an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of the U.S. civil space program and its development over time. It deals with organizational developments and prints 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. To purchase this book contact the NASA Information Center, Code COL19, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, or call 2023580000.

For the asking, the most recent "Monograph in Aerospace History" is available. Enchanted Rendezvous: John C. Houbolt and the Genesis of the Lunar-Orbit Rendezvous Concept, written by James R. Hansen, tells the important story of NASA's effort to decide upon the method of carrying out the mandate to land an American on the Moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s. Copies are available free of charge from the NASA History Office, Code ZH, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, 20546. To speed response, please include a 9x12 inch self-addressed, stamped (for 10 ounces) envelope.


We are pleased to announce the imminent publication of To See the Unseen: A History of Planetary Radar Astronomy, by Andrew J. Butrica. 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. The author also uses planetary radar astronomy as a case study in Federal "big science." 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.

The Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, Fiscal Year 1995 Activities, is also due out soon. 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. This report is available free of charge and we hope to post it on the Internet too.

We are proud 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 keen insights on managing complex technological endeavors in highly readable prose that provides many lessons for contemporary audiences.

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 2: Relations with Other Organizations. This documentary history will cover such important topics as NASA relations with the military and with foreign space agencies. Organized in a similar format to Volume 1, this book should be exceptionally useful to students of space exploration.

Readers of space history can also look forward to an exciting book on planetary astronomy by Ronald A. Schorn. This book discusses the history of ground- and space-based equipment to obtain scientific data about the planets. Schorn focuses on twentieth century achievements, although he also discusses prior and ancient planetary astronomy.

Did you know that NACA/NASA projects have won the prestigious Collier Trophy twenty times since its inception in 1911? A forthcoming book edited by Pamela E. Mack is a very readable collection of essays about each of these projects. The Collier Trophy is awarded annually for outstanding achievement in aeronautics and astronautics. The NACA first won the award in 1929 for its engine cowling design and most recently the agency won it in 1993 for the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission. See below for information on a related photographic exhibit.

Another fine addition to our series on NASA field centers is the forthcoming Way Station to Space: A History of the John C. Stennis Space Center by Mack R. Herring. This book is an interesting short history of the Stennis Space Center that focuses on the Apollo era.

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. This monograph will be available in July 1996 free of charge from our office.


There is a new face in the NASA History Office: Mark Kahn came to the office in February 1996. As a contractor working on indexing and abstracting our archival collection, Mark has quickly gotten up to speed on the Inmagic database used to control the collection (see below). He also provides reference support to NASA and external customers doing historical research. Prior to working at NASA, Mark spent three years as the contract archivist for the Federal Aviation Administration. He also has a master's degree in history from the University of New Hampshire. Welcome aboard, Mark!

In May 1996, the NASA History Office provided assistance for a photographic exhibition on the NACA/NASA recipients of the Collier Trophy that is now showing in the NASA Headquarters lobby. This exhibit details the projects receiving the Collier Trophy "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America" during the previous year.

In June, another photographic exhibit is scheduled to be placed in the NASA Headquarters lobby. The panels depict Project Mercury and describe the program's goals and hardware.

Good news for researchers who use the NASA History Office: our extensive Inmagic database has just been upgraded with a new Windows version. Five old categories have been combined into a single database for ease in searching. Customized search screens may be created by individual users and full Boolean searching is now possible. A dedicated terminal is available for researchers who want to use this database of over 14,000 records.


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. Questions? Please contact Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian, Code ZH, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546; 2023580384, Fax 2023582866, email:

The NASA History Home Page on the Web is This links to many other NASA sites such as the home pages for NASA Headquarters, the Office of Policy and Plans, the Office of Space Flight, and the Public Affairs Office. We have gotten good feedback on our home page and encourage you to check it out! We also welcome comments on how to improve our home page. See below for more suggestions on finding aerospace materials online.

The NASA History Office has just placed online Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations (1978), by Charles D. Benson and William Barnaby Faherty. Long out of print, the online version of Moonport presents a solid historical analysis of one of the twentieth century's most impressive technological feats: the building and operation of the launch complex in Florida from which the U.S. undertook its Apollo lunar expeditions. Using various official documents, the authors explain the complex process of construction and operation at the Kennedy Space Center. Moonport is found at: Comments about this effort, especially errors that might exist in the text, are welcome. Please contact Roger D. Launius at

Airborne Trailblazer: Two Decades with NASA Langley's 737 Flying Laboratory (1994), by Lane E. Wallace, is now available online at This monograph-length illustrated history describes and analyzes the history of one research aircraft, the Boeing 737 used at Langley Research Center since 1974, and its role in further aeronautical technology. The author also uses this case study as a means of getting at larger questions revolving around the expansion of technological knowledge concerning aviation and its transfer to those who can use it in the broader government scientific establishment, the aerospace industry, and the public. Hardcover and paperback versions are also available from the NASA Information Center, Code COL-19, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, 202-358-0000.


"White House Science News" is a new listserv subscription service maintained by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to distribute information of interest to the science and technology policy community. To subscribe, send an email message to Leave the subject line blank and in the text of the message type "SUB news Your Name" (no quotes). You will then receive a file containing a general introduction and a quick reference card. If you have any questions, please email Rick Borchelt, OSTP special assistant for public affairs, at

The NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program has an extensive amount of information on its home page, There is electronic access to NASA Technical Reports, NASA Tech Briefs, the NASA Government Information Locator Service, and other useful sites. In addition, Aeronautical Engineering, Aerospace Medicine and Biology, NASA Patents Abstracts, and the flagship abstract journal, STAR, are now available in portable document format (PDF) for viewing or downloading. For more information, contact the NASA Access Help Desk at, phone 301-621-0390, fax 301-621-0134.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has a Web site entitled "This Month in Space History" at

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics announces its Internet Web site: In addition to information on conferences, membership, technical activities, publications, databases, public policy, customer service, and staff contacts, links will be made to AIAA sections and chapters who have their own home pages. Fore more information, contact Karen Holloway at

There is a new Web page at which will be of interest to science and technology researchers. It includes links to professional society pages, journal pages, sites where jobs are posted, and news on science and technology (journals such as Nature and Science). The site is maintained by Bart Simon (

The Australian Space Web site is up and running at Questions? Please contact Geoff O'Callaghan down under at

The new Web site for Air & Space/Smithsonian Magazine, the magazine of the National Air and Space Museum, is The magazine's newest feature, "Sightings" is headlined on the home page and offers browsers several video clips that can be downloaded from the site, including a clip of the DC-X in flight.

The Institution of Electrical Engineers has added their library and archival holdings to their Web site at The catalog includes their books and leaflets, and they plan to add a collection of more than 3,000 periodicals soon. The site also has good historical images.

For those who have been following the latest Air Force technology forecasting effort, "New World Vistas," a study conducted by the Scientific Advisory Board is now available at Hard copies are also available from HQ USAF/SB, 1180 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1180.


The NASA History Office anticipates releasing within the next few months a solicitation for proposals to write a study of flight research at NACA and NASA. One of the most important, but underappreciated, aspects of the NACA/NASA mission is its flight research activity. This study will help to document the NACA/NASA historical R&D program by focusing on flight research throughout the history of the agency from 1915 to the present. To be put on the mailing list for this upcoming solicitation, please send a formal letter to the NASA History Office, Code ZH, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC, 20546. Please include a mailing address, as well as fax numbers and e-mail addresses if available.

The Nicholas Mullins Award is awarded each year by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) for an outstanding work of scholarship by a graduate student in the general field of Science and Technology Studies. In 1996 the prize will be $500. The work may not be older than two years at the time of submission. The intended readership for the papers is a general STS audience, rather than a specialized disciplinary readership. There is a strict 10,000 word limit (including notes and references) on all papers. Papers should be double-spaced, with the author's name, address, and institution on a separate sheet (for blind judging), and six copies should be sent to: Anne Figert, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Loyola University Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626, phone 312-508-3431, fax 312-508-3646, email: Deadline for submitting contributions is 1 June 1996.

The annual conference of the New England Historical Association (NEHA) will be on 19 October 1996 at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. Papers or panels on any historical topic may be submitted (abstract and brief CV) to Professor James Leamon, Bates College, History Department, Lewiston, ME 04240; For information, contact Peter Holloran, Mount Ida College, The deadline for submissions is 1 July 1996.

The National Council for Public History invites proposals for papers, sessions, panels, and workshops for its May 1-4, 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. The program committee also welcomes proposals in all areas of public history. Proposals should include the following: a short (200-300 word) essay stating the focus, thesis, methodology, and significance of the session, panel, workshop, or paper and a short (200-300 word) prospectus for each included paper/presentation, names, addresses, telephone numbers, and (if available) fax and e-mail for all proposed participants as well as a short summary vita (one paragraph) for each participant. Submit materials to John R. Jameson, Department of History, Kent State University, Kent, OH, 44242-0001. 330-672-2492. The deadline is 31 July 1996.

The NEH 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. Our 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 reach, 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 American Astronautical Society is cosponsoring several upcoming conferences. on 29-30 May 1996, it is joining with the National Academy of Sciences to present the 15th Annual Classified Military Space Symposium in Washington, D.C. Then on 1-6 June 1996, in Albuquerque, NM, the AAS is cosponsoring Space 96: The 5th International Conference and Exposition on Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space. Also at that time is RCE: the 2nd Conference on Robotics for Challenging Environments. From 17-20 July 1996, the AAS is cosponsoring a conference in Boulder, CO entitled "The Case for Mars VI." Later that month, 29-31 July 1996, the joint AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Conference will be held in San Diego. Finally, the AAS National Conference and 43rd Annual Meeting is slated for 9-11 December 1996 in Houston. For more information about any of these events, please contact the AAS at 703-866-0020, fax 703-866-3526, email

The 1996 International Symposium on Technology and Society will be held at Princeton University on 20-22 June 1996. This conference is sponsored by the IEEE and the Society on Social Implications of Technology. The preliminary agenda is posted on the World Wide Web at For more information, contact Clinton Andrews at 609-258-4835, fax 609-258-1985,

The third British-North American History of Science Meeting will take place on 23-26 July 1996 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The conference will be held at the University, George Square, which is close to the city centre. For more information contact the BSHS Executive Secretary, 31 High Street, Stanford in the Vale, Faringdon, OXON, SN7 8LH, England, telephone/fax (44) (0) 1367 718963, email:

The international meeting of the Society for History of Technology will take place in London, England on 1-4 August 1996. For further information, contact Julia Law at or Peter Morris (Program Committee Chair) at

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:


The NASA History Office has some extra copies of older AAS books such as Space Rescue and Safety 1975 and Space - New Opportunities for International Ventures (1980). We also have extra copies of some old NASA technical monographs such as FGK Stars and T Tauri Stars and O Stars and Wolf-Rayet Stars. These are excess to our needs and anyone who would like copies is free to come pick them up.


David Lasser, a key spaceflight visionary, passed away on 5 May 1996. Born in Baltimore in 1902, Lasser wrote the first English-language book of serious nonfiction on the use of rockets for spaceflight, The Conquest of Space, in 1931. That year, he also joined with several other science writers to found the American Interplanetary Society, which later became part of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. After working as an editor of Science Wonder Stories in the 1930s, Lasser went on to become a labor activist. A humble man, Lasser made important contributions to the development of early human spaceflight.

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.