The NASA History Series NASA SP 4406 Purdue University

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Orders of Magnitude A History of the NACA and NASA 1915 1990. National Aeronautics and Space Administration,Office of Management. Scientific and Technical Information Division,Washington DC. Published 1989,Updated Nov 10 1999,By John Henry,Roger D Launius NASA Chief Historian. Steve Garber NASA History Web Curator, For further information E mail histinfo hq nasa gov. http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 cover html 2 of 2 3 16 2001 11 59 45 AM. Orders of Magnitude Table of Contents,NASA SP 4406.
A History of the NACA,and NASA 1915 1990,by Roger E Bilstein. The NASA History Series,National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Office of Management,Scientific and Technical Information Division. Washington DC 1989,Table of Contents,Chapter 1 NACA Origins 1915 1930. Chapter 2 New Facilities New Designs 1930 1945,Chapter 3 Going Supersonic 1945 1958.
Chapter 4 On the Fringes of Space 1958 1964,Chapter 5 Tortoise Becomes Hare 1964 1969. Chapter 6 Aerospace Dividends 1969 1973,Chapter 7 On the Eve of the Shuttle 1973 1980. Chapter 8 Aerospace Flights 1980 1986, http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 contents html 1 of 2 3 16 2001 12 00 07 PM. Orders of Magnitude Table of Contents,Chapter 9 New Directions Since 1986. Bibliographic Essay, For Additional Information Contact Roger D Launius NASA Chief Historian.
roger launius hq nasa gov, http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 contents html 2 of 2 3 16 2001 12 00 07 PM. Orders of Magnitude Foreword, This is the third edition of Orders of Magnitude a concise history of the National Advisory Committee. for Aeronautics NACA and its successor agency the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA At a time when American pride has been restored by the return of the Space Shuttle to. flight this edition reminds us of our first departures from the surface of the Earth and commemorates the. 75th anniversary of the creation of the NACA our first national institution for the advance of powered. human flight In less than half a century America progressed from the sandy hills of Kitty Hawk along. the Atlantic Ocean into the vast new ocean of space The pace of technological change necessary for. such voyages has been so rapid especially in the last quarter century that it is easy to forget the extent to. which aeronautical research and development whether in propulsion structures materials or control. systems have provided the fundamental basis for efficient and reliable civil and military flight. capabilities Thus it is fitting that this edition of NASA s Orders of Magnitude not only updates the. historical record but restores aeronautics to its due place in the history of the agency and of mankind s. most fascinating and continuing voyage, Perspective comes with the passage of time Events since the last edition of Orders of Magnitude 1980. suggest that this nation s ability to sustain the enthusiasm and the commitment of public resources. necessary for a vigorous national space program can like the phases of our nearest celestial. neighbor wax and wane The Apollo Saturn vehicle that carried the first humans to the Moon was lofted. not only by a remarkable mobilization of engineering research and know how but by the political will of. a nation startled by the Soviet Union s display of space technology with Sputnik I launched 4 October. 1957 Universities and industry joined their considerable talents with NASA s to carry out the Apollo. program s epoch making exploratory missions in a truly national effort. But responsiveness to changing national concerns is a hallmark of democratic government and the United. States preoccupations shifted to more earthbound concerns even before the Apollo program was. completed Public concerns such as energy resources the environment guns and butter and fiscal. restraint grew as a maturing aerospace technology broadened NASA s mission as well as its rationale. Developed as a more economical approach to routine space travel than throw away boosters the Space. Transportation System with its reusable Shuttle orbiter was only one of NASA s post Apollo programs. that reflected the new political climate of the 1970s and early 1980s. As we approach the 1990s however my sense is that the nation s interest in space exploration and. exploitation following a roller coaster of public interest apathy competing priorities a brief moment in. the sun with the pride of recovery is on the brink of a period of such excitement discovery and wonder. as to make the Apollo period pale in comparison The scheduled voyages to Venus and Jupiter the. launch of the Great Observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope the establishment of a permanent. human presence in space with the space station Freedom the development of a takeoff to orbit aircraft. the National Aerospace Plane and the beginnings of engineering solutions to the technological. requirements for expanding a human presence further into the solar system portend an era in which. America and indeed the world will be bombarded with knowledge about the universe through which we. http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 foreword html 1 of 2 3 16 2001 12 00 14 PM. Orders of Magnitude Foreword, pass so fleetingly That knowledge garnered in the finest traditions of intellectual endeavor that have. characterized the history of the NACA and NASA will foster a new vitality that will raise to new heights. the cyclical pattern of public support for a strong national civil aeronautics and space program While. most of us are caught up in the changing events of each passing day history as this new edition of. Orders of Magnitude A History of the NACA and NASA 1915 1990 attests reminds us of the. continuities amid change and of our debt to those who have brought us the capability to write the next. chapter in the history of humans out of Earth s bounds. H Hollister Cantus,Associate Administrator for External.
National Aeronautics and Space,Administration,February 1987 November 1988. http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 foreword html 2 of 2 3 16 2001 12 00 14 PM. Orders of Magnitude Preface, In 1965 Eugene M Emme historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA. wrote a brief survey of the agency entitled Historical Sketch of NASA EP 29 It served its purpose as a. succinct overview useful for Federal personnel new NASA employees and inquiries from the general. public Because people were so curious about the nascent space program the text emphasized. astronautics By 1976 a revision was in order undertaken by Frank W Anderson Jr publications. manager of the NASA History Office With a different title Orders of Magnitude A History of NACA. and NASA 1915 1980 SP 4403 the new version gave more attention to NASA s predecessor the. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics NACA although astronautics was still accorded the. lion s share of the text After a second printing Anderson prepared a revised version published in 1980. which carried the NASA story up to the threshold of Space Shuttle launches Anderson retired from. NASA in 1980, As NASA approached the 75th anniversary of its NACA origins in 1915 a further updating of Orders of. Magnitude seemed in order In addition to its original audience the book had been useful as a quick. reference and as ancillary reading in various history courses Anderson s graceful lucid style appealed to. many readers including myself The opportunity to prepare a revised survey was an honor for me. Anderson s original discussions of astronautics have remained essentially intact these are represented in. the concluding section Enter Astronautics in chapter 3 and by chapters 4 5 6 and 7 in this latest. version In recognition of the NACA s acknowledged contributions to aeronautical progress I wrote the. first three chapters carrying the story up to the origins of NASA in 1958 Although chapters 4 through 7. are basically unchanged I have included a more detailed summary of aeronautics in each of them to. underscore the continuing evolution of aeronautical research during the era of Apollo I also wrote. chapters 8 and 9 bringing developments in aeronautics and astronautics up to the present In addition. many of the photos have been replaced a short bibliographical essay was added and the index has been. revamped As in the past Orders of Magnitude was not intended as a definitive or interpretive study of. the NACA and NASA Even so two recurrent themes can be discerned One is the continuing. relationship between NACA NASA and the military services another is the ongoing interaction with the. European aerospace community, I am grateful to many people who have cooperated in preparing the manuscript Sylvia Fries the NASA. historian and Lee D Saegesser NASA archivist and W David Compton a valued colleague read and. commented on the entire manuscript Lee Saegesser also saved me from various errors of fact and turned. up essential illustrations At the History Office at NASA s Johnson Space Center JSC I wish to thank. Asha Vashi Joey Pellarin and Janet Kovacevich for supplying answers to many questions and for. indefatigable good humor Don Hess who oversees the JSC History Office facilitated access to JSC and. its historical archives At every NASA center photo archivists and personnel in the Public Affairs offices. provided necessary illustrations and information Helen Heyder conscientiously typed different drafts of. the entire manuscript My family Linda Alex and Paula once again cheerfully endured the clutter of. notes and books throughout our house, http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 preface html 1 of 2 3 16 2001 12 00 19 PM.
Orders of Magnitude Preface, In the process of defining the coverage and topics in this survey I have been able to establish my own. agenda so that any shortcomings and errors are mine alone. Roger E Bilstein,Houston Texas, http www hq nasa gov office pao History SP 4406 preface html 2 of 2 3 16 2001 12 00 19 PM. Chapter 1 NACA Origins 1915 1930,NACA ORIGINS 1915 1930. In 1915 Congressional legislation created an Advisory Committee for Aeronautics The prefix. National soon became customary was officially adopted and the familiar acronym NACA emerged as. a widely recognized term among the aeronautics community in America. The genesis of what came to be known as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics NACA. occurred at a time of accelerating cultural and technological change Only the year before Robert. Goddard began experiments in rocketry and the Panama Canal opened Amidst the gathering whirlwind. of the First World War social change and technological transformation persisted During 1915 the. NACA s first year Albert Einstein postulated his general theory of relativity and Margaret Sanger was. jailed as the author of Family Limitation the first popular book on birth control Frederick Winslow. Taylor father of Scientific Management died while disciples like Henry Ford were applying his ideas. in the process of achieving prodigies of production Ford produced his one millionth automobile the same. year In 1915 Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental call from New York to San. Francisco with his trusted colleague Dr Thomas A Watson on the other end of the line Motion. pictures began to reshape American entertainment habits and New Orleans jazz began to make its. indelible imprint on American music At Sheepshead Bay New York a new speed record for. automobiles was set at 102 6 MPH a figure that many fliers of the era would have been happy to match. American flying not only lagged behind automotive progress but also lagged behind European aviation. This was particularly galling to many aviation enthusiasts in the United States the home of the Wright. brothers True Orville and Wilbur Wright benefited from the work of European pioneers like Otto. Lilienthal in Germany and Percy Pilcher in Great Britain In America the Wrights had corresponded. with the well known engineer and aviation enthusiast Octave Chanute and they had knowledge of the. work of Samuel P Langley aviation pioneer and secretary of the Smithsonian Institution But the. Wrights made the first powered controlled flight in an airplane on 17 December 1903 on a lonely. stretch of beach near Kitty Hawk North Carolina Ironically this feat was widely ignored or. misinterpreted by the American press for many years until 1908 when Orville made trial flights for the. War Department and Wilbur s flights overseas enthralled Europe Impressed by the Wrights the. Europeans nonetheless had already begun a rapid development of aviation and their growing record of. achievements underscored the lack of organized research in the United States. Sentiment for some sort of center of aeronautical research had been building for several years At the. inaugural meeting of the American Aeronautical Society in 1911 some of its members discussed a. national laboratory with federal patronage The Smithsonian Institution seemed a likely prospect based. on its prestige and the legacy of Samuel Pierpont Langley s dusty equipment resting where it had been. abandoned in his lab behind the Smithsonian castle on the Mall But the American Aeronautical. Society s dreams were frustrated by continued in fighting among other organizations which were. beginning to see aviation as a promising research frontier including universities like the Massachusetts. Institute of Technology as well as government agencies like the U S Navy and the National Bureau of. At a time when American pride has been restored by the return of the Space Shuttle to flight this edition reminds us of our first departures from the surface of the Earth and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the creation of the NACA our first national institution for the advance of powered human flight In less than half a century America progressed from the sandy hills of Kitty Hawk

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