Guide to Federal Records

Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]


(Record Group 255)
1903-96

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 255.1 Administrative History
  • 255.2 Records of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) 1915-64
    • 255.2.1 General records
    • 255.2.2 Records of research units
    • 255.2.3 Records of committees and subcommittees
  • 255.3 Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 1940-74
  • 255.4 Records of NACA/NASA Field Installations 1916-97
    • 255.4.1 Records of the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
    • 255.4.2 Records of the Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards Air Force Base, CA
    • 255.4.3 Records of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
    • 255.4.4 Records of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD
    • 255.4.5 Records of the Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
    • 255.4.6 Records of the Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH
    • 255.4.7 Records of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
    • 255.4.8 Records of the Wallops Flight Facility, Temperanceville, VA
    • 255.4.9 Records of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL
    • 255.4.10 Records of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
  • 255.5 Records of the Western Operations Office 1939-67
  • 255.6 Records Relating to Project Vanguard 1955-59
  • 255.7 Records Relating to Space Vehicle Accidents 1964-67, 1986
    • 255.7.1 Records relating to the Delta 24 accident
    • 255.7.2 Records relating to the Apollo 204 accident
    • 255.7.3 Records relating to the Challenger accident
  • 255.8 Motion Pictures (General) 1961-80
  • 255.9 Video Recordings (General) 1965-94
  • 255.10 Sound Recordings (General) 1963-78 and n.d.
  • 255.11 Machine-Readable Records (General) 1969-71
  • 255.12 Still Pictures (General) 1903-96

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255.1 Administrative History

Established: As an independent agency by the National Aeronautics and Space Act (72 Stat. 426), July 29, 1958.

Predecessor Agencies:
National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, 1915-58)

Functions: Conducts research on problems of flight. Develops aeronautical and space vehicles. Explores outer space. Participates in international programs for the peaceful development of space technology.

Finding Aids: Sarah Powell, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics," NM 86 (1967); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records:
Records of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences (1958-68), in RG 46, Records of the U.S. Senate.
Records of the Bureau of Aeronautics, RG 72.
Records of the President's Science Advisory Committee (1957-61); the National Aeronautics and Space Council (1958-73); and the President's Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport (1964-68), in RG 220, Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards.
Records of the Committee on Science and Aeronautics (1959-68), in RG 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Records of the Office of Science and Technology, RG 359.

255.2 Records of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
(NACA)
1915-64

History: Established by the Naval Appropriation Act of 1915 (38 Stat. 930), March 3, 1915, to study problems of flight and to conduct research in aeronautics. Exercised policy and budget formulation responsibilities through a Main Committee of up to 17 persons, selected by the President from both public and private sectors. Conducted daily operations through a staff supervised by a director, assisted by an executive secretary. Conducted research and testing at field installations. Terminated by National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, with functions transferred to newly established NASA, which also assumed responsibility for Project Vanguard (see 255.6) from Naval Research Laboratory and several lunar probe and satellite development projects from Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense (DOD), pursuant to EO 10783, October 1, 1958; for Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Army Ordnance Missile Command by DOD-NASA agreement, December 3, 1958, pursuant to EO 10793, December 3, 1958; and for Development Operations Division of Army Ballistic Missile Agency, including Huntsville, AL, facility (see 255.4.3) and development of Saturn booster rocket, by DOD-NASA agreement, October 21, 1959, approved by the President, November 2, 1959; and accepted by Congress as Reorganization Plan (Transfer Plan), effective March 15, 1960.

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255.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Security-classified and unclassified central correspondence, 1915-58. Official files of Walter T. Bonney, Assistant to the Executive Secretary, 1917-58. Correspondence and other records relating to individual members of committees and subcommittees ("Biography File"), 1915-58. Correspondence and reports on developments in European aviation, prepared by John Jay Ide, NACA technical assistant attached to U.S. Embassy in Paris, 1918-51. Transcripts of speeches given by Executive Director John F. Victory, 1946-58. Card file of NACA and other officials concerned with aeronautical matters, n.d. General correspondence (Numeric File), 1915-42. Correspondence log books, 1943-44. Alphabetical and chronological indices to the NACA decimal file, 1945-52. General correspondence (Decimal File), 1929-52 (bulk 1942-52). Records relating to aeronautical research, 1938-52. Minutes of the Executive Committee of the NACA, 1915-58. Records relating to NACA committees and subcommittees, 1945-59. Patent and invention files, 1917-40. Preliminary research reports ("Technical Notes"), 1920-58. Foreign aeronautical research reports ("Technical Memos"), 1920-58. Research memos, 1946-57. Technical reports, 1916-58. NACA research authorization and non-NACA committee index, 1920-51. Reports, minutes, and agenda of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Scientific Research and Development, 1950-55. Public information correspondence files, 1953-55. Records relating to Korean War reserve and Selective Service issues affecting NACA Manpower, 1950-53. NACA visitor registers, 1940-51. Correspondence file of the Office of Aeronautical Intelligence, 1915-52. NACA personnel regulations and procedures file, 1918-59. Bound volumes of copies of slides shown at conferences, 1951, 1955.

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255.2.2 Records of research units

Textual Records: Records of the Research Information Division, consisting of correspondence, 1915-52; technical reports, memorandums, and notes, 1916-58; reprints of reports issued during World War II ("Wartime Reports"), 1942-52; and a reference library of aeronautical literature, 1938-52. Records of the Research Administration Division, consisting of invention and patent case files, 1917-58. Correspondence of the Research and Contribution Board, 1917- 58. Records of the Research Coordination Division, consisting of research memorandums, 1946- 57; Langley Research Authorizations, 1918-48; case files relating to work accomplished at the Langley Laboratory under research authorizations, 1920-41; Ames Research Authorizations, 1941-50; and Lewis Research Authorizations, 1942-50.

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255.2.3 Records of committees and subcommittees

Textual Records: Executive Committee minutes, 1915-58. Minutes, reports, and issuances of individual committees and subcommittees, 1936-52. Official files of individual committee members, 1915-51. Transcripts of speeches given by committee members, 1935-57. Records of the Subcommittee on Lightning Hazards to Aircraft, including special program files, 1936-47; general subcommittee files, 1936-47; and questionnaires, 1935-64.

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255.3 Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
1940-74

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports, 1942-60. Definition cards used in compiling NASA aeronautical dictionary, n.d. Invention name file, 1940-60. Miscellaneous office files of Homer Newell, Associate Administrator of NASA, 1965-74. Correspondence and report file (Alpha-Numeric), 1942-60 (bulk 1942-58). Records relating to non-NACA Committees, 1943-60. Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development Documentation Committee files, 1953-58 (bulk 1954-57). Statistical reports and other records of the Office of Budget Operations, 1966-74.

Related Records: Microfilm copies of selected NASA correspondence, reports, and publications, otherwise unaccessioned, in Kennedy Library, 1961-63 (11 rolls); and in Johnson Library, 1961-68 (71 rolls). Memoir on NASA, 1960-61, of T. (Thomas) Keith Glennan, NASA Administrator (1958-61), in Eisenhower Library. Papers (portions closed), 1928-80, of James E. Webb, NASA Administrator (1961-68), in Truman Library, with copies, 1961-63, in Kennedy Library, and copies, 1964-67, in Johnson Library. Oral history interview of James E. Webb, in Johnson Library. Oral history interview of Thomas O. Paine, NASA Deputy Administrator (1968) and Administrator (1968-70), in Johnson Library. Papers and/or oral history interviews of NASA officials Richard W. Cook, in Eisenhower Library; Robert C. Seamans, Jr., in Eisenhower and Kennedy Libraries; Kurt Debus, Hugh L. Dryden, Robert R. Gilruth, George M. Low, Franklyn Phillips, Wernher von Braun, and Walter C. Williams, Jr., in Kennedy Library; and Robert F. Allnut and William F. McKee, in Johnson Library.

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255.4 Records of NACA/NASA Field Installations
1916-97

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255.4.1 Records of the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

History: NACA aircraft structures research laboratory authorized by Third Deficiency Appropriation Act of 1939 (53 Stat. 1306), August 9, 1939. Began operations as Moffett Field Laboratory, Moffett Field, CA, 1941. Redesignated Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, 1944, in honor of Dr. Joseph S. Ames, NACA member (1919-39). Transferred to newly established NASA and redesignated Ames Research Center, October 1, 1958, with responsibility for conducting basic and applied research in physical and life sciences for aeronautics and space flight.

Textual Records (in San Francisco, except as noted): Central correspondence, 1938-58; central coded correspondence; 1951-67; central research correspondence, 1943-65; central files, 1941-65. Report unit files, 1947-77. Research and development reports, 1957, and project authorizations, 1941-59. Life Science Building dedication ceremony, 1968. Records of the Unitary Plan Design Group, 1950-55. Records of the Research Instrumentation Branch, 1941-56. Records of the Photographic Branch, 1945-55. Minutes and reports of the Automatic Stabilization and Control Subcommittee and the Research Advisory Committee on Control, Guidance, and Navigation, 1954-64. Records relating to the NASA Research and Technology Advisory Subcommittee on Aircraft Operating Problems, 1961-69. Historical files, 1941-72. Correspondence, reports, historical files, and news clippings, 1938-58 (in Washington Area).

Sound Recordings: Activities at Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, 1942-45 (13 items).

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255.4.2 Records of the Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards
Air Force Base, CA

History: NACA Muroc Flight Test Unit established September 30, 1946, at Muroc Army Air Field, CA, to assist in the rocket-powered X-1 research program. High-Speed Flight Research Station established 1947. Muroc Army Air Field redesignated Muroc Air Force Base, February 12, 1948. Redesignated Edwards Air Force Base, December 5, 1949. High-Speed Flight Research Station redesignated High-Speed Flight Station, 1954. Transferred to newly established NASA, October 1, 1958, with responsibility for investigating all phases of aeronautical flight, space flight reentry and landing, and problems of manned flight within and beyond the atmosphere. Redesignated Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center, January 8, 1976, in honor of Hugh L. Dryden, NACA Director (1947-58) and NASA Deputy Director (1958-65). Subordinated to Ames Research Center and redesignated Dryden Flight Research Facility, October 1, 1981.

Textual Records (in Los Angeles, except as noted): Upper level management files, 1972, 1974-77. Correspondence, flight records, pilot notes, progress reports, accident investigation reports (X- 2), and a few photographs documenting early high-speed aeronautical research on the following aircraft: D-558 I and II; F-51; F-100 and F-100A; X-1; X1-A, X1-B, and X1-E; X-2; X-3; X-4; and X-5, 1946-59. Published reports, 1974. Correspondence, news clippings, and interfiled photographs relating to testing of X1-A and X-2, 1952-56 (in Washington Area).

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255.4.3 Records of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center,
Huntsville, AL

History: U.S. Army Ordnance Guided Missile Center established April 1950 at Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, AL. Transferred to newly established Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), February 1, 1956. Acquired by NASA in transfer of ABMA Development Operations Division from DOD to NASA by mutual agreement, October 21, 1959, approved by the President, November 2, 1959; and by Congress as Reorganization Plan (Transfer Plan), effective March 15, 1960. Designated Huntsville Facility by Circular 57, NASA, March 14, 1960. Redesignated George C. Marshall Space Flight Center by EO 10870, March 15, 1960, in honor of General of the Army George C. Marshall.

Textual Records (in Atlanta): Upper management records, 1957-75. Skylab Project research and development case files, 1962-74. Records of NASA boards, panels, and committees, including some related to the Skylab Project, 1961-67. Management issuances, 1960-71. Records of the Public Affairs Office, including community relations files, 1966-69; weekly Star newsletters, September 28, 1960 - August 28, 1996; and Education Branch special project files, 1963-71. Records of the Solid Rocket Booster Chief Engineer, 1975-80. Scientific and technical publications, 1960-70, 1975. News releases, 1958-75. Speech files of Wernher von Braun, 1954-69. Foreign correspondence of Wernher von Braun, 1958-66. Records of the Manpower Office relating to the alien scientist program, 1958-71. High Energy Astronomy Observatories research and development case files, 1970-79. Classified research and development files of closed project offices, 1961-70; and the Saturn Project, 1961-72. Board and Committee configuration meeting files, 1961-66. Retrenchment studies, 1967-68. Scientific and technical publication files, 1972-73. Payload flight data files, 1983-94. Records relating to Saturn program-related board, committee, and panel meetings, 1962-69.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (500 items): Drawings and specifications, from Skylab Project research and development files, 1962-74.

Photographic Negatives (in Atlanta): Projects of the Marshall Space Flight Center, including Apollo and the lunar landings, 1967-69 (16,560 images). Equipment, projects, and personnel, 1965-69 (PHO, 23,000 images).

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255.4.4 Records of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC),
Greenbelt, MD

History: Space research facility in Washington, DC, area authorized by NASA Appropriation Act (72 Stat. 613), August 14, 1958. Designated Beltsville Space Center (BSC), effective January 15, 1959, by General Notice 1, BSC, January 1, 1959, with responsibility for conducting basic and applied research in the fields of unmanned spacecraft and sounding rockets. Redesignated Goddard Space Flight Center, May 1, 1959, in honor of modern rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard.

Textual Records: Official files of John W. Townsend, Jr. (Chief, Space Sciences Division, NASA, 1958-59; Assistant Director, GSFC, 1959-65; Deputy Director, GSFC, 1965-68; Director, GSFC, 1987-90), 1956-62. Tracking station agreements, 1959-64. Director's weekly reports, 1963-67. Goddard News newsletters, 1982-91.

Motion Pictures: Development at GSFC of various types of satellites and space vehicles, 1959-74, with accompanying production material (45 reels).

Related Records: For GSFC records relating to Project Vanguard, see 255.6.

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255.4.5 Records of the Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

History: First NACA laboratory established 1917 at Langley Field, near Hampton, VA, to conduct basic research in aeronautics. Designated Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (LMAL), April 1920, in honor of Dr. Samuel P. Langley, late 19th-century aeronautical pioneer and third Secretary of Smithsonian Institution. Transferred to newly established NASA and redesignated Langley Research Center, October 1, 1958, with responsibility for conducting basic research in aeronautics and space flight.

Textual Records: Correspondence, reports, historical files, and news clippings, 1916-57. Classified and unclassified research and administrative correspondence, 1918-84. Weekly news bulletins, 1942-92. Langley News Researcher issues, 1993-96. SCOUT Support Project Office records with interfiled photographs and films, 1956-95.

Photographic Negatives (12,000 images): Aeronautical research conducted by the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1921-58, with logbooks for 1921-36 (NL).

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255.4.6 Records of the Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH

History: NACA airplane engine research laboratory authorized by First Supplemental Appropriation Act of 1941 (54 Stat. 599), June 26, 1940. Began operations as Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory, Cleveland, OH, 1942. Redesignated Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, September 28, 1948, in honor of Dr. George W. Lewis, NACA Director of Aeronautical Research (1919-47). Transferred to newly established NASA and redesignated Lewis Research Center, October 1, 1958, with responsibility for developing advanced propulsion and space systems.

Textual Records (in Chicago, except as noted): Case files and other records of the Nuclear Engine Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) Project, 1961-72. Lectures, speeches, and transcripts of broadcasts given by staff engineers and scientists, 1944-66. Engineering and scientific papers, studies, and reports, 1954-59. Correspondence, reports, historical files, and news clippings, 1941-57 (in Washington Area).

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255.4.7 Records of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston,
TX

History: Project Mercury, first U.S. manned space flight program, established October 7, 1958, with administration vested in Space Task Group (STG), established November 1958, at Langley Research Center. STG upgraded to separate field installation status at Langley upon undertaking lunar landing project, formalized as Project Apollo, July 28, 1960. Permanent site for Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) selected at Clear Lake, near Houston, TX, September 19, 1961. STG formally redesignated Manned Spacecraft Center, by MSC Announcement No. 2, November 1, 1961. MSC transfer from Langley to temporary facility at Clear Lake completed July 1962, with move to permanent facility, September 1963-February 1964. MSC redesignated Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center by a joint resolution of February 17, 1973 (87 Stat. 7).

Textual Records (in Fort Worth): Records of the Office of the Director, 1958-75, including director's subject files, 1958-72; reference files of the special assistant, 1958-64; security- classified reference files, 1958-62; reference copies of management and technical reports relating to general administration and the manned space program, 1967-71; and weekly activity reports of subordinate offices, 1967-75. Records of the Public Affairs Office, including industrial information release clearances, 1962-66; press operations for Project Mercury, 1962- 65; and motion picture case and script files of the Photographic Technology Division, 1961-73. Presentations and briefings of the Advanced Missions Program Office, 1969-70. Subject files of the Advanced Missions Planning Office, 1968-69, and its successor, the Technical Planning Office, consisting of subject files, 1970- 77. Procurement Division contract files, 1959-68. Technical publications files of the Management Services Division, 1962-70. Records of the Management Analysis Office, including announcement and issuance case files, 1964-88; and management analysis studies, 1961-73. Records of the Crew Support Division, Flight Crew Operations Directorate, consisting of reference files on Projects Mercury and Gemini, 1961-67. Space Shuttle Program flight data files of the Mission Operations Directorate, 1981-86. Records of the Engineering and Development Directorate, including Crew Systems Branch Project Gemini technical reports, 1959-66. Gemini Program Office historical files, 1965-69. History Office source files on Project Mercury, 1952-68, and Project Gemini, 1958-74. Records of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office relating to the Apollo 13 accident investigation, 1970-71. Records of the Lunar Receiving Laboratory Program Office relating to installation of facilities systems, 1967-68. Case files on Project Mercury assembled by the Marshall Space Flight Center and transferred to the Johnson Space Center, 1958-64. Records of the Space Task Group documenting the relocation from Langley to Houston, 1961-63.

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255.4.8 Records of the Wallops Flight Facility, Temperanceville,
VA

History: Auxiliary Flight Research Station established May 7, 1945, on Wallops Island, VA, as a test-launching facility of LMAL, NACA. Subordinated to Operations Section of LMAL Pilotless Aircraft Research Division, and redesignated Pilotless Aircraft Research Station, August 11, 1946, with responsibility for testing guided missiles. Transferred to newly established NASA, October 1, 1958, and designated Wallops Station. Made an independent field installation, May 1, 1959. Redesignated Wallops Flight Center, April 26, 1974. Redesignated Wallops Flight Facility, October 1, 1981.

Textual Records: Records relating to facilities expansion, research into hypersonic and space flight problems, and satellite and rocket testing, 1956-58.

Motion Pictures: unedited black and white research and development footage documenting testing of various rockets, 1960-80 (646 reels).

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255.4.9 Records of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, FL

History: In July 1962, the Launch Operations Directorate at Cape Canaveral was separated from the Marshall Space Flight Center by executive order. It became the Launch Operations Center, an independent NASA installation. It was renamed the John F. Kennedy Space Center in December 1963, in honor of America's slain president. In December 1964, launch elements of Houston's Manned Spacecraft Center (now the Johnson Space Center) were transferred to the Kennedy Space Center. The following October, Goddard Space Flight Center's Field Projects Branch on the Cape was incorporated into the Kennedy Space Center.

Textual Records (in Atlanta): The records document the organizational development of the facility from its beginning as a launch operations center under the Marshall Space Flight Center to the independent NASA Center; KSC's subsequent programs including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, the space shuttle, and Skylab; public affairs, including Spaceport News; and personnel assignments. Included are astronaut medical records, correspondence, management issuances files, news releases, personnel authorization vouchers, project files, publications, real property management files, special project files, training plans, and transcripts of speeches, 1959-97.

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255.4.10 Records of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

History: In 1936, students at the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT), directed by Dr. Theodore von Kármán, began design and experimental work with liquid-propellant rocket engines in the Arroyo Seco just outside of Pasadena, California. After the Caltech group's successful rocket experiments, the Army helped Caltech acquire land in the Arroyo Seco for test pits and temporary workshops. Airplane tests at nearby air bases proved the concept and tested the designs for new "jet-ssisted takeoff rockets."

During World War II, the GALCIT Rocket Research Project developed solid-and liquid-propellant units to assist the takeoff of heavily loaded aircraft and began work on high-altitude rockets. Reorganized in November 1944 under the name "Jet Propulsion Laboratory," the facility continued postwar research and development on tactical guided missiles, aerodynamics, and broad supporting technology for U. S. Army Ordnance.

JPL was transferred from Army jurisdiction to NASA's control in December 1958 shortly after the establishment of the new organization. However, NASA's contractual arrangement with the California Institute of Technology for the performance of research and development at JPL began in 1962. Currently, JPL is a government-owned facility located northeast of Los Angeles.

Textual Records (in Laguna Niguel): Research and development project case files relating to administering, planning, conducting, and reporting on the lunar and planetary space missions Galileo, Halley, Mariner, Ulysses, and Venus, 1971-85.

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255.5 Records of the Western Operations Office
1939-67

History: Western Coordination Office (WCO) established at Moffett Field, CA, December 15, 1939, to act as NACA liaison with Los Angeles area aircraft companies and aeronautics research units of California universities. Transferred to newly established NASA by General Management Instruction (GMI) 2-2-16, NASA, August 25, 1959, with responsibilities expanded to include administrative and management support of NASA activities west of Denver, CO. Abolished by GMI 2-2-16, NASA, March 7, 1962, with functions transferred to Western Operations Office (WOO), established by same instruction as a NASA field installation in Santa Monica, CA, with additional responsibility for contract administration and technical support of project management officers. Management unit, NASAO-Downey, established as a WOO field component in Downey, CA, May 11, 1962, with responsibility for managing Apollo spacecraft and Saturn booster rocket contracts concluded between NASA and North American Aviation. Functions exercised by WOO Contracts Division transferred to NASA Resident Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, effective May 8, 1966, pursuant to agreement between WOO and representatives of Office of Space Science and Applications and Office of Industry. WOO abolished by NMI 1136.27, NASA, June 15, 1966, with NASAO-Downey subordinated directly to Office of Industry Affairs; and remaining WOO functions transferred to Western Support Organization (WSO), established by same instruction as a field extension of Office of Industry Affairs, with responsibility for giving administrative support to NASA activities and personnel in southern California and Nevada. NASA Resident Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, redesignated NASA Pasadena Office by NMI 1138.9, August 17, 1966. WSO abolished, March 31, 1968, with residual functions transferred to NASA Pasadena Office.

Textual Records (in Los Angeles): Subject files of the NACA/NASA representative, 1939-62. Organizational history files, 1959-67. Security- classified technical memorandums relating to aerospace project sites, 1940- 62. Records of Edwin P. Hartman, Coordinator of Research, Western Coordination Office, 1940-56.

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255.6 Records Relating to Project Vanguard
1955-59

History: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Office of Naval Research selected August 1955 to administer Project Vanguard, a program to launch first U.S. satellite during International Geophysical Year (July 1, 1957-December 21, 1958). Vanguard 1, 1.5 kilogram scientific satellite, sent into orbit March 1, 1958. Vanguard Division of NRL transferred from DOD to NASA by agreement signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Donald A. Quarles and NASA Administrator T. (Thomas) Keith Glennan, November 20, 1958, pursuant to EO 10783, October 1, 1958. Satellites 2 and 3 of Vanguard series launched 1959.

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records, of the Vanguard Division, including contractor case files, 1955-59; reports, 1955-59; records of the office of the project director, 1955-59; project staff publications, 1955-59; and records of predecessor units in the Naval Research Laboratory, 1955-59. Records of the NASA History Office relating to Project Vanguard, consisting of project files, 1955-59; and notes and other records of Joseph W. Siry, head of the Theory and Analysis Branch, Project Vanguard, 1955-59.

Sound Recordings: Transmission signals emitted by the Soviet Union's satellite "Sputnik," October 10, 1957 (1 item).

Photographs (3,301 images): Tests, facilities, and personnel, 1956-59 (PV, PV-CC, PV-CCC, PVT).

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255.7 Records Relating to Space Vehicle Accidents
1964-67, 1986

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255.7.1 Records relating to the Delta 24 accident

History: Delta 24, an unmanned rocket carrying an ionosphere research (Beacon) satellite, launched from Cape Kennedy, FL, March 19, 1964. Failed to achieve orbit when the third stage, X-248 rocket motor fired only half normal time.

Textual Records: Accident reports, reports of investigations, test reports, correspondence, and other records relating to accidental or premature ignition of the X-248 rocket motor, 1964-65.

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255.7.2 Records relating to the Apollo 204 accident

History: Apollo 204 mission, intended to be first U.S. manned circumlunar flight, failed when flash fire broke out in space capsule during ground test, killing all three astronauts on board, January 27, 1967. Apollo 204 Review Board established by memorandum of NASA Deputy Administrator, January 28, 1967, in accordance with NMI 8621.1, NASA, April 14, 1966, Subject: Mission Failure Investigation Policy and Procedure. Terminated upon submission of final report, April 5, 1967.

Textual Records: Records of the Apollo 204 Review Board, consisting of central correspondence, records of task panels 1-21, official files of individual staff members, and final report, 1967.

Motion Pictures: Apollo 204 Review Board activities, 1967 (9 reels). Hearings before the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, U.S. Senate, 1967 (1 reel).

Sound Recordings: Voice communication between astronauts and control units before and during accident, 1967 (8 items). Accident tapes from Houston's Johnson Space Fight Center, 1967 (SRU, 5 items) . Col. Frank Borman's inspection of the burned command module, 1967 (2 items). Proceedings of the Apollo 204 Review Board, 1967 (46 items), with accompanying daily summary sheets. Statements and interviews of 10 eyewitnesses, 1967 (9 items). Address to Apollo Project staff by Project Manager Joseph Shea, on implications of the accident, 1967 (1 item).

Photographs: Accident site, command module mock-up, module parts, and Apollo204 Review Board activities, 1967 (AP, 400 images), with index to those images used in final report.

Subject Access Terms: Chaffee, Roger B.; Grissom, Virgil (Gus); White, Edward H.

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255.7.3 Records relating to the Challenger accident

History: Space shuttle Challenger exploded 70 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, FL, January 28, 1986, killing all 7 persons aboard (6 astronauts and New Hampshire teacher S. Christa McAuliffe).

Video Recordings (600 items): Copyrighted network television coverage of explosion and aftermath, 1986.

Related Records: Records of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (Rogers Commission), in RG 220, Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards.

Subject Access Terms: Jarvis, Gregory B.; McNair, Ronald E.; Onizuka, Ellison S.; Resnik, Judith A.; Scobee, Francis R. (Dick); Smith, Michael J.

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255.8 Motion Pictures (General)
1961-80

NASA Aeronautics and Space Reports series, 1965-80 (428 reels). Motion pictures relating to aeronautics and space exploration, 1961-69 (59 reels), including The Astronauts--United States Project Mercury, 1962-63; Mastery of Space, 1962; Freedom Seven, 1961; Friendship Seven, 1962; Research Project X-15: The Development of the X-15, 1962; The John Glenn Story, 1963; Flight of Faith Seven, 1963; America in Space (The First Five Years), 1963; Hazards of Tire Hydroplaning to Aircraft Operations, 1963; Trial Balance, 1965; The Four Days of Gemini 4, 1965; Byproducts of Space Research: Selected Examples, 1966; Electric Power General in Space, 1967; Legacy of Gemini, 1967; Automobile Tire Hydroplaning--What Happens, 1967; A View of the Sky, 1967; Assignment Shoot the Moon, 1967; Flight to Tomorrow, 1967; The Apollo 4 Mission, 1968; America in Space--The First Decade, 1968; The Flight of Apollo 7, 1968; Flight Without Wings, 1969; Debrief: Apollo 8, 1969; and The Eagle Has Landed: The Flight of Apollo 11, 1969. Science Report series, ca. 1964-67 (14 reels). Headquarters astronaut interviews, ca. 1965-71 (123 reels).

Subject Access Terms: Onizuka, Ellison; Bluford, Guion; McNair, Ronald; Gregory, Frederick; Ride, Sally; Lucid, Shannon; Resnik, Judith; Fisher, Anna; Bobko, Karol; Perryman, Beverly; Stadle, Connie.

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255.9 Video Recordings (General)
1965-94

Aeronautics and Space Reports television series, 1965-94 (84 items).

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255.10 Sound Recordings (General)
1963-78 and n.d.

Special Reports, Space Notes, and News Features radio programs, 1963-73 (150 items). NASA Aeronautics and Space Reports series, 1965-78 (127 items). Transmissions from Russian satellite, Sputnik, n.d. (1 item).

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255.11 Machine-Readable Records (General)
1969-71

Data on Project Tektite I, a project to study the effects on human beings of prolonged underwater habitation, compiled by Office of the Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight, 1969 (3 data sets); with supporting documentation. Data on Project Tektite II Interagency Program, 1970-71 (3 data sets).

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255.12 Still Pictures (General)
1903-96

Photographic Prints, Negatives, and Transparencies: NACA and NASA activities, facilities, equipment, and personnel, relating to aeronautics and astronautics, including types of aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft, 1903-63 (GP, GPN, MA, P, PA, RA, RF, RFA; 25,854 images). NACA and NASA ceremonies, conferences, and administrative activities, 1920-58 (GF, 5,450 images). Lunar surface, as transmitted on television by Ranger Probes VII, VIII, and IX, 1964-65 (RMP, 1,632 images). Visits by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin Aldrin, and Frank Borman to West Berlin and Bonn, Federal Republic of Germany, in albums, 1969 (ACAV, BV; 76 images). Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space program activities, equipment, and personnel, Kennedy Space Center, FL, 1959-65 (KP, 9,200 images, in Atlanta). Vandenburg Air Force Base, CA, Expendable Launch Vehicle program photographs, 1958-74 (10,000 images).

Lantern Slides: NACA and NASA buildings and laboratories, aeronautical research and tests, aeronautical equipment, instruments, aircraft components, and types of aircraft, 1903-60 (LS, LSC, LSP; 3,193 images).

Posters: Accomplishments of the U.S. space program, 1975-96 (PO, 153 images). Manned Flight Awareness Program, 1985-91 (MF, 26 images).

Lithographs: published Dryden Flight Research Center aircraft images, 1994-95 (DC, 24 images). NSA art collection, ca. 1983-94 (CL, 54 images).


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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