NASA History Series

Several works published as part of the NASA history series are available on-line.


Engines and Innovation: Lewis Laboratory and American Propulsion Technology (SP-4306, 1991), by Virginia P. Dawson. While this book is approximately ten years old, it is an excellent history of what is now known as NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field and focuses on propulsion work, a mainstay of this center's mission.

The Voyage of Mariner 10: Mission to Venus and Mercury (SP-424, 1978) by James A. Dunne and Eric Burgess.

A New Sun: Solar Results from Skylab (SP-402, 1979) by John A. Eddy and edited by Rein Ise.

The Apollo Program: Summary Report (Document # JSC-09423, April 1975) is fully text-searchable pdf files. This hard-to-find document is an extremely useful overview of Apollo with details on the spacecraft, launch vehicles, scientific results, and so forth.

Far Travelers: The Exploring Machines by Oran W. Nicks (NASA SP-480, 1985) This unusual book is an insider's view of NASA's Lunar and Planetary Programs up to 1980, rather than a formal and complete history. The author relates the engineering challenges with which people working for these programs were confronted.

The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA's Search for a Reusable Space Vehicle (NASA SP-4221) by T.A. Heppenheimer is an excellent historical account of the political decision to build the Shuttle.

The Space Shuttle (NASA SP-407, 1976) provides some good information about the Shuttle's capabilities.

Guide to Magellan Image Interpretation (JPL-93-24) by John Ford, Jeffrey Plaut, et. al.

The Space Shuttle at Work (NASA SP-432/EP-156, 1979) by Howard Allaway.

National Space Transportation System: Overview (NASA, September 1988)

Magellan: The Unveiling of Venus (JPL-400-345, March 1989) is at

The NASA Historical Databook (SP-4012), Volume III, along with volumes IV-VI, covering the time period 1969-1988, these books are valuable reference works.

Planetary Geology in the 1980s (SP-467, 1985) by Joseph Veverka.

Managing NASA in the Apollo Era (NASA SP-4102, 1982). by Arnold S. Levine.

The Star Splitters: The High Energy Astronomy Observatories (SP-466, 1984) by Wallace H. Tucker.

A new site devoted to historical information about NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) has been established. his site contains information about its founding after the Apollo 1/204 accident in 1967, as well as its annual reports, and a link to the ASAP home page.

Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo-Saturn Launch Vehicles (NASA SP-4206, 1980, reprinted 1996) by Roger E. Bilstein,

The Human Factor: Biomedicine in the Manned Space Program to 1980 (NASA SP-4213, 1985) by John A. Pitts.