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Hubble Space Telescope collection

 Collection
Identifier: Coll-007
The Space Telescope Collection is a group of records compiled by Robert W. Smith. The material in this collection spans the years 1952 to 1991, but most of the records are concentrated in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection contains correspondence files, scientific plans, reports, publications, administrative records and subject files from various NASA centers, universities, research groups and contractors who were active in the development of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Dates

  • 1952-1991
  • Majority of material found within 1970 - 1989

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

20.7 Cubic Feet (16 record center cartons, 1 letter size document box, 1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches))

Biographical / Historical

Robert W. Smith compiled the Space Telescope Collection while writing his book The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology and Politics. The book, published in 1989, was one of the main goals of the Space Telescope History Project (STHP). STHP was the result of the efforts of historians from the Johns Hopkins University and the National Air and Space Museum. The project was partially funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation and in the 1980s it was housed in STScI on the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood Campus.

The purpose of the project was to provide a history of the Space Telescope Project from its origins to the time when the telescope was placed in orbit. The project also developed a large body of historical resource files and oral history tapes. The oral histories and many of the files are housed at the National Air and Space Museum. The Space Telescope Collection is a portion of these working resource files.

The Hubble Space Telescope was the product of collaboration between NASA and the US government, private industry, and the academic world. Unlike telescopes on earth, which are less effective due to the light from civilizations, the Space Telescope allows astronomers to gather very accurate and detailed data. A telescope of this type was needed by astronomers, physicists and space science researchers. However, with so many diverse organizations contributing to the telescope's development, a central location became necessary to coordinate and manage the overall project. For this reason, STScI was established in 1981. The final location, the Steven Muller Building of the Johns Hopkins University, was selected after a series of proposals and presentations to AURA, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. The AURA consortium was responsible for running STScI. The Space Telescope Science Institute, previously housed in the Johns Hopkins University's Rowland Hall, moved into its new location in 1982. The design and construction of the Space Telescope and its components continued under its direction throughout the 1980s. In April, 1990, the completed Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, and put into orbit.

Scope and Contents

The Space Telescope Collection is a group of records compiled by Robert W. Smith while researching and writing his book The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology and Politics. The material in this collection spans the years 1952 to 1991, but most of the records are concentrated in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection contains correspondence files, scientific plans, reports, publications, administrative records and subject files from various NASA centers, universities, research groups and contractors who were active in the development of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Because this record group is an artificial collection dealing with the development of the Space Telescope Project, the documents it contains have been gathered form a variety of sources. The records do not provide complete documentation of either the Space Telescope or the agencies who contributed to its development.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Twenty-four boxes of material were transferred to the Archives by Robert W. Smith in 1998.

Accruals

Accession Number: 98.25

Related Materials

Additional materials from Robert Smith's collection were also transferred to the National Air and Space Museum Archives and the Smithsonian Institute Archives.

The following publication cited or described this collection: Smith, Robert W. The Space Telescope: a study of NASA, science, technology and politics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Holly Callahan.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA