Clarke, Arthur C., Sir (Arthur Charles), 1917-2008 Search this
95.02 Cubic feet (188 legal size boxes; 5 15 x 12 x 3 flat boxes; 1 16 x 20 x 3 flat box; 4 12 x 8 x 5 shoeboxes)
88.55 Linear feet
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is one of the preeminent science-fiction writers of the 20th century.
Scope and Contents:
Contains personal and business correspondence, manuscripts of most of Clarke's fiction works in various draft states, short stories, articles, addresses, speeches, movie outlines, Apollo 11 broadcast material, datebooks & notebooks, reference materials, business cards of visitors & contacts, photos & slides. There is some material by people other than the creator such as manuscripts and film/TV scripts.
This collection also includes audio-visual material. Please contact the Media Archivist for access.
Series were based on the creator's original arrangement of material.
Arranged into 7 Series:
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Original Writing
2.3: Articles, Short Stories
2.4: Lectures, Speeches
Series 3: Media & Publicity
Series 4: Awards & Tributes
Series 5: Manuscripts written by others relating to Clarke's Literary Works
Series 6: Miscellaneous
Series 7: Images
7.2: Slide Albums
Biographical / Historical:
Born on December 16, 1917, in Minehead, England, Arthur Charles Clarke became obsessed with science fiction and astronomy at a young age. He was the eldest of four children born into a farming family, however he would become, with his brother Fred Clarke acting as a business associate, one of the leading names in science fiction.
During World War II Clarke served as a radar instructor and in his free time became one of the early members of the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, Clarke made one of his earliest predictions (he called them "extrapolations") when he came up with the idea of communication satellites. He became known for this uncanny prescience which is seen in so much of his work.
In 1948 Clarke graduated from King's College, London with honors in math and physics. By 1951, Clarke had gained respect as both a fiction and non-fiction writer with Interplanetary Flight and Prelude to Space, respectively.
In 1956, Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, where he could indulge a new obsession - skin diving. He remained in Sri Lanka for the rest of his life, creating a diving company and funding many science education programs in the country.
Perhaps Clarke's most recognizable feat came when he was able to work with Stanley Kubrick over a course of 4 years in order to create the book and film 2001: A Space Odyssey which was loosely based on the earlier Clarke story "The Sentinel."
Clarke accomplished an amazing amount of writing, speaking tours, TV appearances and humanitarian work despite suffering from post-polio syndrome for decades. He won numerous awards, mostly for his science fiction but also for popularizing science. He was knighted in 1998. He died, age 90, March 19, 2008.
This collection is comprised mostly of administrative memoranda of the portion of the V-2 Panel which represented the Rocket-Sonde Research Section of NAR. The thirty-four files from Rocket-Sonde members are roughly chronological and are followed by files from other entities such as the Ad Hoc Committee on Rocket, Satellite and Space Research. The material in this collection was gathered by David DeVorkin while he conducted research for his book, _Science with a Vengeance_.
Biographical / Historical:
The Rocket-Sonde Research Section of the Naval Research Laboratory (NAR) participated in the V-2 Panel (ACA V-2 Upper Atmosphere Research Panel), which, with the use of captured German V-2 rockets, conducted in the 1940s and 1950s a long series of experiments which sought to to further our understanding of the upper atmosphere and the nature of solar radiation, as well as the technology utilized in the V-2 itself.
David DeVorkin, Transfer, 1998, 1998-0025, Public Domain
No restrictions on access
This collection consists of Willey Ley's personal files, including his business correspondence, book contracts, and galley proofs, as well as publicity concerning Dr. Ley and his activities, and inquiries and comments from Ley's readership during his tenure as columnist for Galaxy Magazine (1952-1969). The material also includes articles gathered by Ley on topics ranging from astronomy and space travel to biology and natural parks to mythology, psychic phenomena, and UFOs.
Scope and Contents note:
The Willy Ley Collection reflects Ley's broad, restless curiosity about the world around him. However, the main thrust of this material emphasizes his intense interest in the aerospace field. Ley's significant contributions as a great proponent, theorist and historian of rocketry and space travel are quite evident in this collection.
For the most part, the collection encompasses the years Ley spent in the U.S., roughly, from the mid 1930s to his death in 1969. Accordingly, very little pertaining to Ley's time in the VfR is found here. This wide array of materials was sold to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (NASM) by Ley's widow, Olga, in 1970.(1) Later that year, NASM personnel traveled to Ley's home in New York to transfer this collection to the museum. They were careful to maintain the overall order of the collection which reflects its original organizational structure, as well as the research techniques and thinking processes of Ley himself.
The collection of materials listed in the finding aid is arranged into four series. The first series is composed of personal materials that include correspondence, book and article contract materials, galley proofs, manuscript and article drafts, notes, articles, lecture invitations and brochures, photographs, drawings, travel and war-time memorabilia, newspaper and press clippings, book reviews, personal bills and receipts, business cards, children's' report cards and Christmas cards. The materials of this series range in date from the early 1930s to 1969. Except for moving this series to the beginning of the collection, original order was maintained. Additionally, original folder titles were retained (as they were for the rest of the collection). Correspondence, book/article contracts materials, research notes, articles, newspaper and press clippings and miscellaneous personal materials are arranged chronologically while the manuscript drafts, galley proofs and book reviews are organized alphabetically by title.
The second series comprises the bulk --about two-thirds, of the Willy Ley Collection. This series, the aerospace subject files, ranges in date from the late 1800s to 1969, and covers the following topics: biography (Ley and others), aviation, inventions, astronomy, space travel, rockets, artificial satellites, manned space flight, ground support and rocket test centers. The folders include correspondence, photographs, notes, reports, brochures, pamphlets, magazines, articles and newspaper clippings. Original order was maintained for this series. The materials are organized by subject.
The third series consists of printed materials. This series ranges in date from the early 1950s to 1970 and includes various publications (newsletters, pamphlets, journals, reports, directories, magazines and books). Also included are article and newspaper clippings. Ley organized the newsletters by title and then chronologically.
The fourth and final series of this collection contains non-aerospace subject files. Ley's certificates, citations and a scrapbook are found in this series. The certificates and citations are for Ley's civic and professional achievements. The scrapbook contains miscellaneous newspaper clippings regarding rocketry and space travel (in English and German) from the 1930s and 1940s. However, this series, ranging in date from the early 1900s to 1969, mainly encompasses materials not directly related to aviation, rocketry or space travel. Original order was maintained for this series. The materials are organized by subject.
The researcher should note that all the folders (except for those of Series 4) are numbered. This numbering system reflects an effort by NASM's Department of Space History in 1970 to create a rough catalog of the Willy Ley Collection as it was being moved to the museum. Though now obsolete as an index, these penciled numbers were retained and are written in the upper right corner of the folders.
Endnotes: 1. That same year, Mrs. Ley also sold her husband's collection of books and journals to the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Currently, it is known as the Willy Ley Memorial Collection and resides at the University's library. Wernher von Braun and NASA Saturn launch vehicle program manager Arthur Rudolph participated in the dedication ceremony in 1971.
Series 1: Personal Materials
Series 2: Aerospace Subject Files
Series 3: Printed Materials
Series 4: Non-Aerospace Subject Files
Willy Ley was a world-renown expert in and proponent of rocketry and space travel. Born in Berlin, Germany on October 2, 1906, Ley attended the Universities of Berlin and Konigsberg and studied astronomy, paleontology, zoology and physics. Beyond these studies however, he developed a passionate interest in rocketry and its potential applications for space travel. Accordingly, he wrote and published his first book, Die Fahrt in den Weltraum (Travel in Outer Space) in 1926 and helped found Germany's early rocketry and spaceflight club, Verein fur Raumschiffahrt or VfR (Society for Space Travel) the following year. In 1929, Ley, along with well-known rocketry theorist Hermann Oberth, acted as a technical consultant on Fritz Lang's film, Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon). Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s, he continued to write books, as well as numerous articles in German and foreign publications, on the subject of rockets and spaceflight. Once Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis pressured Ley to cease publishing his articles in foreign journals and magazines due to rocketry's potential as a weapon in Germany's arsenal. Also, the VfR disbanded during the Nazis' first year in power amid concerns among the membership regarding the interest the German military was taking in their activities. These factors compelled Ley to leave Germany for Britain briefly and then to the U.S. in 1935. He became an American citizen in 1944.
Until World War II, Ley focused his writing career on topics unrelated to rocketry and space travel. He discovered little interest in these fields among the U.S. public. He was successful though, with a number of non-space publications such as Salamanders and Other Wonders and The Lungfish, the Dodo and the Unicorn. From 1940-44, Ley was science editor of the New York newspaper, PM and later lectured as a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He was also a regular contributor to a myriad of magazines, encyclopedias and digests such as Popular Mechanics, Cowles Encyclopedia and Galaxy. However, once World War II began and especially after Germany launched V-2 missile attacks on Britain in 1944, Ley found himself in great demand as an expert in rocketry. Following the end of the war, his writings, lectures and newspaper, radio and television interviews helped to spur even greater public interest in rockets and their potential for space flight. Additionally, his books on this subject were widely read in the U.S. and around the world. First published in 1944, Ley's Rockets, Missiles, & Space Travel enjoyed a great deal of popularity and justified numerous printings of revised editions. Other highly successful titles that Ley produced during the 1950s and 1960s included The Conquest of Space, The Conquest of the Moon (written with Wernher von Braun and astronomer Fred Whipple) and Beyond the Solar System. Ley, along with von Braun, artist Chesley Bonestell and others, collaborated on a series of space-themed issues of Collier's (1952-54) that helped to foster popular support for future U.S. missions to earth orbit, the moon and the planets.
Aside from his busy career as a prolific author and populizer of rockets and space travel, Ley was also a husband and father of two children. His wife, Olga, was an accomplished ballet dancer, model and author in her own right. The couple had to two daughters, Sandra and Xenia. Ley had hoped to attend the Apollo 11 launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida but died of a heart attack at his home in Jackson Heights, New York, on June 24, 1969. His death came only four weeks before the launch of mankind's first landing on the moon's surface.
1906 October 2 -- Ley born in Berlin, Germany
1920 January 11 -- Smithsonian Institution publishes A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, a pamphlet written by U.S. rocket scientist Dr. Robert H. Goddard
1923 -- Romanian rocket scientist Hermann Oberth publishes short book, Die Rakate zu den Planetenraumen (The Rocket into Planetary Space)
1926 -- Ley writes and publishes first book, Die Fahrt in den Weltraum(Travel in Outer Space)
1926 March 16 -- Goddard successfully launches first liquid-fueled rocket in Auburn, Massachusetts
1927 July 5 -- Ley helps found Germany's early rocketry and space travel club, Verein fur Raumschiffahrt or VfR (Society for Space Travel)
1929 -- Ley (along with Oberth) acts as a technical consultant for Fritz Lang film, Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon)
1933 January 30 -- Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany
1935 -- Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky dies
1935 -- Ley leaves Germany for Britain and then to the U.S.
1939 September 1 -- Germany invades Poland – World War II begins
1940 -- Ley begins stint as science editor of New York newspaper, PM
1942 October 3 -- First successful launch of Nazi V-2 (A-4) rocket, Peenemunde, Germany
1944 -- Ley becomes a U.S. citizen
1944 -- Ley publishes first edition of book, Rockets (book would eventually see many revised editions and renamed Rockets, Missiles, & Space Travel)
1944 September 7-8 -- First V-2 rocket attacks on London and Paris
1945 May 8 -- Germany surrenders to Allies
1945 August 10 -- Goddard dies
1945 September 2 -- Japan surrenders to Allies
1945 September 29 -- Wernher von Braun and other captured German rocket scientists are taken to the U.S.
1945 October -- Arthur C. Clarke first proposes concept of communication satellites in Wireless World magazine
1946 April 16 -- First successful launch by the U.S. of a captured V-2
1950 -- Ley publishes book, The Conquest of Space
1952 -- Ley collaborates with von Braun, artist Chesley Bonestell and others on a series of space-themed issues of Collier's
1953 -- Ley collaborates with von Braun and Fred Whipple and publishes book, The Conquest of the Moon
1957 October 4 -- Russia's successful launch of first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1
1958 January 31 -- Successful launch of first U.S. artificial satellite, Explorer 1
1961 April 12 -- Russia's successful launch of first human into space, Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1
1961 May 5 -- Successful launch of first U.S. astronaut into space, Alan Shepard aboard Mercury-Redstone 3 (Freedom 7)
1964 -- Ley collaborates with Bonestell and publishes book, Beyond the Solar System
1969 June 24 -- Ley dies at his home in Jackson Heights, New York
1969 July 16-24 -- Flight of Apollo 11 succeeds in landing U.S. astronauts on the moon
List of Acronyms:
AFB -- Air Force Base
ARCAS -- All-Purpose Rocket for the Collection of Atmospheric Soundings
AS -- Apollo-Saturn [spacecraft-launch vehicle stack]
ELDO -- European Launcher Development Organization
GALCIT -- Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology
This collection consists of 8 cubic feet of documentation on the Baker-Nunn camera, including the following types of material: drawings, photographs, manuals and reports, and memorandums and correspondence
Biographical / Historical:
The Baker-Nunn Camera, designed by James Baker and Joseph Nunn, was created to observe both natural and man-made satellites orbiting at a great altitude. This high-precision telescopic tracking camera was used by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) to track artificial satellites from the 1950s to mid-1970s. The SAO set up a highly successful optical tracking system using a network of Baker-Nunn cameras at twelve tracking stations located in Argentina, Australia, Curacao, India, Iran, Japan, Peru, South Africa, Spain, and at three sites in the United States.
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) via Space History Division, NASM, Gift, 2012
No restrictions on access.
The collection consists of the transcripts for the Space Astronomy Oral History Project (SAOHP), which examined the early use of rockets and satellites to study the upper atmosphere and space for the period 1946 through the early 1960s. This project constitutes one of several oral history projects conducted within the Department of Space History, NASM. The principal investigator for the SAOHP was David H. DeVorkin, and the interview set contains 225 hours of interviews with 56 individuals. The central thread of this collection is how the availability of new technologies for research, first the rocket and later satellites, helped to create a new social matrix for research. The following were interviewed: Jules Aaron; Ball Brothers; William Baum, William Behring; Jay Bergstrahl; Richard Bleach; William Brunk; Arthur Code; Jerry Conner; Frank Drake; William Fastie; Lorence Fraser; Herbert Friedman; Phyllis Frier; Robert Frosch; George Gianoplis; Thomas Gold; Leo Goldberg; Martin Harwit; Ralph Havens; Albert Hibbs; Noel Hinners; Hans Hinteregger; Charles Johnson; Francis Johnson; Adolph Jursa; Henry Kondracki; Ernst Krause; Alfred Nier; Gerry Neugebauer; Werner Neupert; Ray Newburn; Gordon Newkirk; Edward Ney; Charles O'Dell; William Pickering; Richard Porter; James Purcell; William Rense;Walter Roberts; Nancy Roman; Milton Rosen; Dan Scheiderman; Ronald Schorn; Martin Schwarzschild; Richard Silberstein; John Simpson; Lyman Spitzer; Kaj Strand; Nelson Spencer; John Strong; Gerald Tape; Clyde Tombaugh; Richard Tousey; Mona Tycz; James Van Allen; Gerald Wasserburg; James Webb; James Westphal; Charles Whitsett; Fred Wilshusen; and George Withbroe.
Scope and Contents:
Audio cassettes and transcipts.
The Space Astronomy Oral History Project interviews are arranged alphabetically by interviewee.
This collection contains the interviews for the Space Astronomy Oral History Project. These interviews explore the early use of rockets and satellites over the period 1946 through the early 1960s to investigate the upper atmosphere and space. This project constitutes one of several oral history projects conducted within the National Air and Space Museum's (NASM) Department of Space History. The principal interviewer for this project was David H. DeVorkin and the interview set consists of 225 hours of interviews with 67 individuals. Please note that there are a few instances where audio cassette tapes of the
interview subjects exist but without written transcripts while there are also a few cases of existing transcripts of the interviews without any audio cassette tapes. The following were interviewed for this project: Jules Aaron; Frank Bateson; William Alvin Baum; William Behring; Jay Thor Bergstrahl; Richard Bleach; William E. Brunk; Arthur Dodd Code; Jerry Conner; Fred Dolder; Frank Donald Drake; William G. Fastie; Lorence Fraser; Phyllis Freier; Herbert Friedman; Robert Frosch; Reuben H. Gablehouse; R.A.Gaiser; George Gianopolis; Thomas Gold; Leo Goldberg; Martin Otto Harwit; Ralph Havens; Albert Roach Hibbs; Noel Hinners; Hans Erich Hinteregger; Charles Yothers Johnson; Francis S. Johnson; Adolph Simon Jursa; Jerome Kohl; Henry Kondracki; Ernst Henry Krause; R.C. Mercure; Alfred O. Neir; Gerry Neugebauer; Werner Neupert; Ray Leon Newburn; Gordon Allen Newkirk; Edward P. Ney; Charles Robert O'Dell; William Hayward Pickering; Richard W. Porter; James D. Purcell; William A. Rense; Walter Orr Roberts; Nancy Grace Roman; Milton W. Rosen; Dan Schneiderman; Ronald A. Schorn; Martin Schwarzschild; Richard Silberstein; John Simpson; Nelson W. Spencer; Lyman Spitzer, Jr.; Kaj Strand; John Strong; Gerald Tape; Clyde William Tombaugh; Richard Tousey; Mona Tycz; James Van Allen; Gerald Joseph Wasserburg; James Edwin Webb; James A. Westphal; Charles Edward Whitsett; Fred Wilshusen and George Withbroe.
Space History, NASM, Transfer, 1999, 1999-0034, Varies
The audio cassette tapes of these interviews have yet to be remastered and, due to their fragility, are unavailable to researchers. Transcripts are available to researchers though, there are restrictions placed on a number of them. A NASM staff member will advice the patron which transcripts are available for copying or viewing and how to order copies of transcripts and/or CDs.
International Ultraviolet Explorer Videohistory Collection
4 videotapes (Reference copies). 7 digital .wmv files and .rm files (Reference copies).
The Smithsonian Videohistory Program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation from 1986 until 1992, used video in historical research. Additional collections have
been added since the grant project ended. Videohistory uses the video camera as a historical research tool to record moving visual information. Video works best in historical
research when recording people at work in environments, explaining artifacts, demonstrating process, or in group discussion. The experimental program recorded projects that
reflected the Institution's concern with the conduct of contemporary science and technology.
Smithsonian historians participated in the program to document visual aspects of their on-going historical research. Projects covered topics in the physical and biological
sciences as well as in technological design and manufacture. To capture site, process, and interaction most effectively, projects were taped in offices, factories, quarries,
laboratories, observatories, and museums. Resulting footage was duplicated, transcribed, and deposited in the Smithsonian Institution Archives for scholarship, education,
and exhibition. The collection is open to qualified researchers.
David H. DeVorkin, curator at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (NASM), interviewed scientists about the creation, design, manufacture, administration, and
use of the IUE. Interviews took place on March 2 and 5, 1990, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. DeVorkin documented the IUE image processing lab and
control center, recorded an observing session with a guest astronomer where data was collected and discussed, and examined specific pieces of equipment that formed the IUE.
His general interest was in observational techniques and the effect of new technologies on astronomical data gathering.
This collection consists of two interview sessions, totalling approximately 6:40 hours of recordings and 185 pages of transcript.
The International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) geosynchronous satellite, launched in 1978, was the creation of diverse interests in Europe (European Space Agency), the
United Kingdom (Scientific & Engineering Research Council), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center. It was, until the
launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in April 1990, the only astronomical telescope working in orbit. Many notable discoveries emerged from the IUE, including the detection
of sulfur in the nucleus of a comet, the observation of a massive hot halo of gas surrounding our galaxy, and the continuous monitoring of Supernova 1987A.
Key participants were Carol Ambruster, Albert Boggess, Yoji Kondo, and George Sonneborn. Charles Loomis, Lloyd Rawley, and Mario Perez assisted during the observing session.
Carol Ambruster, assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Villanova University was visiting IUE astronomer during the videohistory session. She used the IUE to
detect activity of 10 million- and 100 million-year old stars. Ambruster received her Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. She held a number of teaching and research
positions before arriving at Villanova in 1987, including a pre-doctoral research position at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and was a post-doctoral research
associate at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics at the University of Colorado.
Albert Boggess was one of many architects of the IUE. He trained as an astronomer at the University of Michigan, and received his Ph.D in astronomy from there in 1954.
He was appointed a fellow at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in 1954 and a year later began work as a physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory.
He remained there until 1958. From 1959 through 1973 he held head positions at Goddard Space Flight Center with the Interstellar Medium
Section, the Astronomy Systems Branch, and the Advanced Systems Development Branch. He also participated in the Sounding Rocket Program and the Orbital Astronomical Observatory.
In 1983 Boggess was appointed associate director of science for the Space Telescope Sciences Directorate.
Yoji Kondo was appointed project scientist for the IUE in 1982 and in 1988 assumed additional responsibilities as the project scientist for the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer
(EUE) Satellite. He received a B.A. from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1958, and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1965. He was an assistant
professor of astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania until 1968, when he joined NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, as an astronomer. He became an astrophysicist
for the Goddard Space Flight Center in 1978.
George Sonneborn joined the IUE program in January 1982 as a supervisor for telescope operations and thereafter held a series of technical management positions. He was
eventually appointed project scientist for the EUE. Sonneborn received a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1980 from Ohio State University.
Charles Loomis and Lloyd Rawley were technical assistants during the recording of the IUE observing session; Mario Perez was the on-duty resident astronomer. Loomis received
a B.S. in physics and astronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, researched old disk pulsating stars (type II Cepheids), and began as the telescope operator for the
IUE in 1989. Rawley was in-training for a resident astronomer position. Perez received a Ph.D in physics and astronomy from Brigham Young University and an M.S. in electrical
engineering from Universidad Santa Maria in Valparaiso, Chile. Before becoming resident astronomer for the IUE in 1988, Perez was a research and teaching assistant at Brigham
Young University, and held engineering positions for various Chilean agencies and observatories.
Whipple, Fred L. (Fred Lawrence), 1906-2004, interviewee Search this
4 audiotapes (Reference copies).
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conducts interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Whipple was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his central role in the modernization of the SAO and his outstanding contributions to science. For additional
information, see the following related collections in Smithsonian Archives: the records of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; the Fred Lawrence Whipple Papers; and
Record Unit 9542, Multiple Mirror Telescope videohistory interviews.
Whipple was interviewed on June 24 and 25, 1976 by Pamela M. Henson. The interviews cover his education; radar countermeasure work during World War II; role in the development
of national programs for astrophysics and space exploration; research program on comets, meteors, and interplanetary material; administration of SAO; development of Mt. Hopkins,
MMT, and optical tracking programs; and reminiscences of colleagues such as Imre G. Izsak, Craig M. Merrihue, and Carlton W. Tillinghast.
Fred Lawrence Whipple (1906-2004), received the B.A. in mathematics with a minor in physics and astronomy from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1927 and
the Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1931. His early training focused on comet orbits. After teaching for a year at Stanford University,
he joined the staff of the Harvard College Observatory in 1931 and remained in Cambridge throughout his career. During the 1930s his work focused on double station meteor
research. From 1943 to 1945, he developed radar countermeasures for the U. S. Army Radiation Laboratory of the Office of Scientific Research and Development. After World War
II he worked on development of the Super-Schmidt cameras to photograph meteors and continued research on the influx of material from comets into the interplanetary medium.
His comet research culminated in publication of the Icy Comet Model in 1950. During the forties he also conducted studies of meteor hazards to spacecraft, inventing the meteor
bumper, and served on the Rocket and Satellite Research Panel. In the early fifties, with Wernher von Braun and Cornelius J. Ryan, he coauthored a series of popular articles
on the conquest of the space frontier.
His teaching career at Harvard University progressed from Instructor, 1932-1938; Lecturer, 1938-1945; Associate Professor, 1945-1950; Professor, 1950-1970; Chairman of
the Department of Astronomy, 1949-1956; to Phillips Professor of Astronomy, 1970-1977. Thus when Whipple was appointed Director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
(SAO) in July 1955, he moved its headquarters to the Cambridge campus and continued as Professor and member of the Harvard College Observatory staff. He reorganized the Smithsonian's
observatory and reoriented its research program. Under his directorship, the staff grew from a handful to more than five hundred, including over sixty scientists.
At the request of the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences, Whipple began development of Baker-Nunn cameras to track artificial satellites during
the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958). With the help of Armand N. Spitz, he also developed the Moonwatch optical tracking program, which utilized teams of volunteers
observing satellites with hand-held telescopes. When Sputnik was launched in October of 1957, the Moonwatch teams were the only U. S. mechanism available to track the Russian
satellite. The SAO subsequently received large contracts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to operate the Satellite Tracking Program (STP), an optical
tracking system with Baker-Nunn camera stations located all over the globe. Whipple's satellite tracking work earned him the 1963 Distinguished Civilian Service Award from
President John F. Kennedy.
The Prairie Network, an optical tracking system designed to photograph meteorites and fireballs in order to calculate their orbits, created by Whipple and Richard E. McCrosky,
began observations in 1964. Coordination of STP camera observations with Jodrell Bank Observatory radio data on flare stars led to the first identification of radio noise
from any star besides the sun.
SAO relied on early computers such as the Mark IV, IBM 7090, and CDC 6400 for rapid processing of massive quantities of data. Baker-Nunn and Super-Schmidt camera data were
directly processed by automated means, which made possible the 1966 SAO Star Catalog, coordinated by Katherine L. Haramundanis. Whipple required direct publication from computer
tapes, a first for the U. S. Government Printing Office. Observations from the STP were progressively refined during the sixties through new laser tracking techniques and
advances in automated data processing, to provide improved geodetic and geophysical data. In the early sixties, stellar atmosphere models were developed with the aid of an
IBM 7090 and after 1966 a CDC 6400, in anticipation of far ultraviolet light data from orbiting observatories. Based on this experience in upper atmosphere research, Whipple
was appointed project director for the orbiting astronomical observatories from 1958 to 1972.
The telegraph service of the International Astronomical Union came to the SAO in 1965 under the coordination of Owen J. Gingerich and later Brian G. Marsden. It utilized
SAO's sophisticated communications network and led eventually to the creation of the Center for Short-Lived Phenomena by Robert A. Citron.
Development of an observatory site at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, began in 1966. Chosen by Whipple for its altitude and seeing conditions, the site was dedicated in 1981 as the
Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory. On this site, in conjunction with the U. S. Air Force and University of Arizona, he developed the technically innovative Multiple Mirror
Telescope (MMT), which commenced observations in May of 1979.
In addition to his own research program on comets, meteors, and interplanetary materials, Whipple coordinated the SAO research programs in celestial mechanics, geodesy,
meteoritics, radio astronomy, neutrino searches, stellar atmosphere models, and the atomic clock project to test the theory of relativity. He encouraged NASA's lunar program
and development of the space telescope.
Whipple was distinguished both for his theoretical work in astrophysics and his technical innovations in such areas as tracking cameras, multiple mirror telescopes, and
meteor bumpers. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Whipple received the Academy's J. Lawrence Smith Medal in 1949 for his meteor research. He was awarded the Kepler
Medal by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1971 and the Joseph Henry Medal of the Smithsonian Institution in 1973. Through his work on numerous federal
and private boards, panels, and commissions, Whipple was influential in the development of national programs for research in astrophysics and creation of a space exploration
Whipple retired from administration of SAO in 1973 but continued active research as a Senior Scientist from 1973 to 1977. Upon his retirement in 1977, he was appointed
Emeritus Phillips Professor of Astronomy at Harvard.
The David M. Brown Papers consist of almost twelve cubic feet of archival material documenting his career as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon, naval aviator, and NASA astronaut. It includes Brown's diaries, manuals, checklists, certificates, workbooks, notebooks, and related training materials.
Scope and Contents:
The David M. Brown Papers reflect Brown's career as a U.S. Navy flight surgeon, naval aviator, and NASA astronaut. Represented in some of the collection's correspondence, memoranda, and other materials is his early interest in becoming an astronaut, his applying to NASA, and his selection by the space agency as an astronaut candidate. Most of this collection consists of materials related to his professional work. A large part of this series is composed of technical manuals, handbooks and checklists. Also included in this grouping are official U.S. Navy/NASA documents, correspondence, memoranda, drafts, worksheets, reports, handouts, briefings, notes, photographs, invitations, programs, pamphlets, books, booklets, guidebooks, magazines, journals, and miscellaneous materials. The rest of the collection contains a small amount of personal materials. This includes personal documents from Brown (birth certificate, passports, etc.), correspondence, day planners, yearbooks, photographs, and miscellaneous materials.
The Brown Papers are organized into two broad series. First, is the material pertaining to Brown's personal life. This includes personal documents, correspondence, day planners, yearbooks and photographs. The second series contains papers revolving around Brown's professional life. This includes official U.S. Navy/NASA documents, correspondence, memoranda, notes, drafts, reports, handouts, briefings, a variety of manuals, checklists, handbooks, procedures and instructions, notebooks, photographs, invitations, programs, pamphlets, books, guidebooks, magazines, journals, and miscellaneous materials. Brown's papers are arranged both chronologically and alphabetically. Official and personal documents, correspondence, memoranda, notes, drafts, worksheets, photographs, invitations, programs, pamphlets, magazines, journals, day planners, yearbooks and miscellaneous materials are organized by the former method. Reports, handouts, briefings, manuals, handbooks, checklists, procedures, instructions, books, booklets, and guidebooks are arranged alphabetically by title. The reader will note that the parts of this finding aid containing manuals, handbooks, checklists, procedures, and instructions are further organized into the following groupings: NASA only, corporation/contractor only, jointly-issued NASA and corporation/contractor, and miscellaneous.
The reader should note that this group of material also contains a collection of films pertaining to Brown's life and career as an astronaut. A National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Archives staff person can assist you regarding access to these films.
SERIES I -- Personal Papers
SERIES II -- Professional Papers
Official U.S. Navy/NASA Documents
Notes, Drafts, and Worksheets
Reports, Handouts, and Briefings
Manuals, Handbooks, Checklists, Procedures, and Instructions
Notebooks and Workbooks
Invitations, Programs, and Pamphlets
Booklets and Guidebooks
Magazines and Journals
Biographical / Historical:
David M. Brown was a U.S. Navy officer, flight surgeon, naval aviator, and Space Shuttle astronaut. Born in Arlington, Virginia, on April 16, 1956, Brown earned a B.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary in 1978 and a doctorate in medicine from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1982. During his years in college, he performed in the Circus Kingdom as an unicyclist, stilt walker, and acrobat. Upon completing an internship at the Medical University of South Carolina, Brown joined the Navy and finished his flight surgeon training in 1984. After a stint as director of medical services at the Navy Branch Hospital in Adak, Alaska, he was then assigned to Carrier Airwing Fifteen which deployed aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the western section of the Pacific Ocean. In 1988, Brown was selected for pilot training, the only flight surgeon chosen for this program in over ten years. Two years later, he was designated a naval aviator and ranked first in his class. Subsequently, Brown was sent for training and carrier qualification in the Grumman A-6E Intruder. In 1991, he was attached to the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada, where he served as a Strike Leader Attack Training Syllabus Instructor and a Contingency Cell Planning Officer. The following year, he was sent to serve aboard the USS Independence, flying the A-6E with squadron VA-115. In 1995, he reported to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School as their flight surgeon. By this time, Brown was qualified in a variety of military aircraft, including the McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet and the Northrop T-38 Talon. All told, Brown accumulated over 2,700 hours with 1,700 in high performance military aircraft.
For a long time, Brown harbored a strong desire to become an astronaut. During the mid 1990s, he applied for admission into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) astronaut corps. In April 1996, Brown was selected as an astronaut candidate by the space agency and reported to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, later that year. By 1998, he completed his training and evaluation, and was qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Initially, Brown was given the task of supporting payload development for the International Space Station (ISS), followed by an assignment on the astronaut support team responsible for Space Shuttle cockpit setup, crew strap-in, and landing recovery. Eventually, he was assigned a flight aboard Space Shuttle Columbia for the STS-107 mission. Columbia was launched from the Kennedy Space center (KSC) on January 16, 2003. This 16-day flight was dedicated to scientific research while in Earth orbit. On February 1, after the successful in-space mission and only minutes from its scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Cape Canaveral, Florida, the orbiter suffered structural failure upon reentry into the atmosphere and disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana. Brown, as well as the other six members of the STS-107 crew, was killed in the accident. Brown logged 15 days, 22 hours and 20 minutes of space flight experience.
The following chronology covers key events in Brown's life, as well as in the realm of space exploration history. Events involving Brown are shown in normal type while those of the latter are shown in bold type.
1956 April 16 -- Brown born in Arlington, Virginia
1957 October 4 -- Russia's successful launch of first artificial satellite,Sputnik 1
1958 January 31 -- Successful launch of first U.S. artificial satellite,Explorer 1
1961 April 12 -- Russia's successful launch of first human into space, Yuri Gagarin aboardVostok 1
1961 May 5 -- Successful launch of first U.S. astronaut into space, Alan Shepard aboard Mercury-Redstone 3 (Freedom 7)
1969 July 16-24 -- Flight ofApollo 11succeeds in landing U.S. astronauts on the moon
1972 -- The Nixon administration approves the Space Shuttle as a national program
1974 -- Brown graduates from Yorktown High School, Yorktown, Virginia
1977 August-October -- Series of five Approach and Landing Tests (within the atmosphere) of Space ShuttleEnterprise
1978 -- Brown graduates from William and Mary College with a B.S. in biology
1981 April 12 -- First launch into earth orbit for the Space Shuttle program byColumbia(STS-1)
1982 -- Brown graduates from Eastern Virginia Medical School with a doctorate in Medicine (M.D.)
1984 -- Brown completes his U.S. Navy flight surgeon training
1986 January 28 -- Space ShuttleChallenger(STS-51-L) explodes shortly after launch, killing all on board
1988 -- Brown is selected by the U.S. Navy for pilot training
1988 September 29 -- Return to flight of the Space Shuttle program byDiscovery(STS-26)
1990 -- Brown is designated as a naval aviator and ranks first in his class
1990 April 24 -- Launch of Space ShuttleDiscovery(STS-31) with Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as payload
1991 -- Brown is attached to the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada
1992 -- Brown serves aboard aircraft carrier USS Independence and pilots the Grumman A-6E Intruder aircraft with VA-115
1995 -- Brown reports to U.S. Naval Test Pilot School as the flight surgeon
1996 April -- Brown is selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate (ASCAN)
1998 -- Brown successfully completes his astronaut training and evaluation
1998 October 29 -- Launch of Space ShuttleDiscovery(STS-95) with astronaut John Glenn returning to space after his first orbital flight aboardFriendship 7in 1962
2003 January 16 -- Launch of Brown and the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107)
2003 February 1 -- STS-107 disintegrates over Texas and Louisiana shortly before scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, with the loss of Brown and the crew
Paul and Dorothy Brown, Gift, 2006
No restrictions on access.