Space Astronomy Oral History Project, 1981-1986


Collection Item Summary:

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.

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Astronautics
  • Atmosphere, Upper--Rocket observations
  • Rockets (Aeronautics)
  • Astronomy
  • Artificial satellites

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

Some restrictions apply, see permission forms in accession file


DeVorkin, David H. 1944-


  • DeVorkin, David H. 1944-
  • Aaron, Jules
  • Baum, William
  • Behring, William
  • Bleach, Richard
  • Brunk, William Edward 1928-
  • Code, Arthur D
  • Connor, Jerry
  • Drake, Frank D
  • Fastie, William
  • Fraser, Lorence
  • Friedman, Herbert
  • Frier, Phyllis
  • Frosch, Robert
  • Gianoplis, George
  • Gold, Thomas
  • Goldberg, Leo
  • Harwit, Martin 1931-
  • Hibbs, Albert R
  • Hinners, Noel W
  • Hinteregger, Hans H
  • Johnson, Charles Yothers 1920-
  • Bergstralh, Jay T
  • Johnson, Francis
  • Jursa, Adolph S
  • Kondracki, Henry
  • Nier, Alfred
  • Neugebauer, G (Gerry)
  • Krause, Ernst H
  • Newburn, R. L (Ray L.)
  • Newkirk, Gordon Allen 1928-
  • Ney, Edward
  • O'Dell, Charles
  • Pickering, William
  • Porter, Richard W (Richard William) 1913-1996
  • Purcell, J. DeWitt (James DeWitt) 1912-1986
  • Rense, William
  • Roberts, Walter
  • Roman, Nancy Grace 1925-
  • Rosen, Milton W
  • Scheiderman, Dan
  • Schorn, Ronald
  • Schwarzschild, Martin
  • Silberstein, Richard
  • Spencer, Nelson
  • Simpson, John A (John Alexander) 1916-
  • Spitzer, Lyman 1914-
  • Strand, K. Aage (Kaj Aage) 1907-
  • Strong, John
  • Tape, Gerald
  • Tombaugh, Clyde William 1906-
  • Tousey, Richard 1908-1997
  • Tycz, Mona
  • Van Allen, James Alfred 1914-
  • Wasserburg, Gerald
  • Webb, James E (James Edwin) 1906-1992
  • Westphal, James
  • Whitsett, Charles
  • Wilshusen, Fred
  • Withbroe, G. L (George L.)
  • Neupert, Werner
  • Space Astronomy Oral History Project (SAOHP) (U.S.)
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Division of Space History

Physical description

5.45 cubic feet (5 records center boxes)


  • 1981
  • 1981-1986


Additional material: This collection consists only of the interview transcripts, not the tapes. The tapes are housed in the National Air and Space Museum Department of Space History.

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Transcripts
  • Collection descriptions

Local number


Finding Aids

Online Finding Aid

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