X-33 aircraft

"A Fistful of Electrons: The X-33 History Project Web Site and Public Historical Knowledge"

Andrew J. Butrica

The Internet offers an outstanding way to present history to the general public. This paper will discuss the web site created for the X-33 history project in order to reach a broad public audience in a new way.

The web site was created as part of a NASA-funded project to document the development of NASA's X-33, an experimental vehicle that will flight test a range of technologies needed to build single-stage-to-orbit reusable spacecraft. NASA mandated the creation of the web site in the project contract.

The X-33 history project will create a number of traditional historical products: presentations to academic and general audiences; articles for scholarly and popular publications; oral history interviews; fact sheets; time line of key events; an archive; a monograph; and a book-length history of the x-33 program. In addition, as mandated by the NASA contract, the X-33 history project will provide a web site on a NASA Headquarters server.

This presentation will consider the site's organization and the types of historical products available there, as well as elucidate the process for deciding what to include on the site and how to present it. In addition, the talk will consider the use of standard Internet elements (e.g., links and pictures) in historical electronic publications, site maintenance problems, and the measurement of activity.

If appropriate technology support is available, a demonstration of the web site will be provided.


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