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Record Unit 260,  Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Project Celescope,  Records, 1958-1968

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Project Celescope
Title: Records
Dates: 1958-1968
Quantity: 2.6 linear meters.
Collection: Record Unit 260
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

This record unit documents the operation of Project Celescope from its inception in 1958 until shortly before the launch of the experiment in December 1968. Records include correspondence, memoranda, TWX messages, contracts, invitations, bids and proposals; reports; and related materials concerning the technical development of Celescope; involvement of NASA in the project; SAO administration of the project; and the selection and work of contractors producing instruments for the project.

Historical Note

Conceived in 1958, Project Celescope was an experiment undertaken by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) to study the atmospheres of the hotter stars by means of photometric measurements in those regions of the ultraviolet that are accessible only from above the earth's atmosphere. Measurements were achieved by mounting telescopes, in an orbiting satellite, that would focus starlight on ultraviolet-sensitive television cameras. Project Celescope was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) program. The project reached a climax on December 7, 1968, when NASA launched the second OAO satellite containing the Celescope experiment. More than 8,500 photographs of more than 2,800 areas of the sky were made during the experiment's lifetime.

From 1958 to 1965, Project Celescope existed as a separate division of SAO. In 1965 the project was placed under administrative control of the newly created Department of Flight Operations. The project's primary staff included Fred Lawrence Whipple, project director; Robert J. Davis, project scientist; and Francis R. Nitchie, Jr., engineering administrator, 1958-1962. In 1962, the title of the latter position was changed to project manager. Project managers included G. K. Megerian, 1962; Charles A. Lundquist, acting project manager, 1963; and John J. Burke, 1964-1968.

Introduction

This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.

Descriptive Entry

This record unit documents the operation of Project Celescope from its inception in 1958 until shortly before the launch of the experiment in December 1968. Records include correspondence; memoranda; TWX messages; contracts, invitations, bids and proposals; reports; and related materials concerning the technical development of Celescope; involvement of NASA in the project; SAO administration of the project; and the selection and work of contractors producing instruments for the project.

Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 260, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Project Celescope, Records

Container List

Series 1

OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE, 1958-1967. ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

This series consists of copies of outgoing correspondence documenting the operation of Project Celescope, 1958-1967. Correspondents include Smithsonian Institution and National Aeronautics and Space Administration officers, electronics corporations, research firms, astrophysicists and astronomers, and colleges and universities. The correspondence concerns the technical development of Celescope; contracts for the production of instruments for the project; staff recruitment; and meetings and conferences. Also included are copies of monthly progress reports.

Box 1

Outgoing correspondence, July 1958-June 1961.

Box 1 of 20

Box 2

Outgoing correspondence, July 1961-June 1963.

Box 2 of 20

Box 3

Outgoing correspondence, July 1963-June 1964.

Box 3 of 20

Box 4

Outgoing correspondence, July 1964-December 1965.

Box 4 of 20

Box 5

Outgoing correspondence, January 1965-June 1967.

Box 5 of 20

Series 2

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, CORRESPONDENCE, 1958-1968. ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

This series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence documenting the role of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the operation of Project Celescope. The correspondence concerns NASA's Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) program; the installation of Celescope in the OAO satellite; NASA funding of the project; and conferences and meetings between SAO and NASA staff.

Box 6

NASA correspondence, August 1958-June 1964.

Box 6 of 20

Box 7

NASA correspondence, July 1964-April 1968.

Box 7 of 20

Series 3

INTEROFFICE MEMORANDA, 1958-1967. ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

This series consists of incoming and outgoing memoranda between Project Celescope staff and other administrators and staff of SAO. The memoranda concern Project Celescope staff requirements; budget and fiscal matters; meetings and conferences; contracting for the production of instruments; and the technical development of Celescope. Also included are reports on trips taken by Project Celescope staff.

Box 8

Interoffice memoranda, August 1958-September 1961.

Box 8 of 20

Box 9

Interoffice memoranda, October 1961-June 1964.

Box 9 of 20

Box 10

Folders 1-3 Interoffice memoranda, July 1964-June 1967.

Box 10 of 20

Series 4

TWX MESSAGES, 1959-1967. ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

This series consists of TWX messages sent to and received by the staff of Project Celescope, 1959-1967. Most of the messages are directed to firms working on contracts for the project.

Box 10

Folders 4-7 TWX messages, November 1959-June 1963.

Box 10 of 20

Box 11

TWX messages, July 1963-June 1965.

Box 11 of 20

Box 12

Folders 1-4 TWX messages, July 1965-June 1967.

Box 12 of 20

Series 5

ELECTRO-MECHANICAL RESEARCH, INC., CORRESPONDENCE, 1961-1967. ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc. (EMR) was the primary contractor for the design and fabrication of the Project Celescope payload and ground support equipment. This series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence with EMR concerning its work on Project Celescope, 1961-1967. Also included are EMR invoices for work performed.

Box 12

Folders 5-6 Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc., correspondence, February 1961-December 1962.

Box 12 of 20

Box 13

Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc., correspondence, January 1963-September 1964.

Box 13 of 20

Box 14

Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc., correspondence, October 1964-June 1966.

Box 14 of 20

Box 15

Folders 1-2 Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc., correspondence, July 1966-June 1967.

Box 15 of 20

Folders 3-4 Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc., invoices, 1962-1966.

Box 15 of 20

Series 6

TECHNICAL DIRECTIVES FILE, 1963-1967. ARRANGED CHRONOLOGICALLY.

This series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence between the staff of Project Celescope and contractors (especially Electro-Mechanical Research, Inc.) concerning technical questions and problems. The material usually consists of a directive issued by Celescope scientists and a response to the directive from the contractor.

Box 16

Folders 1-4 Technical directive file, 1963-1967.

Box 16 of 20

Series 7

CONTRACTS FILE, 1958-1965. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY.

This series consists of correspondence, invitations to bid, bids, and proposals relating to contracts for the production of instruments and other requirements for Project Celescope. Correspondents include electronics companies, research firms, colleges and universities, government agencies, and individual scientists. Of special interest are records concerning the Westinghouse Electric Company's development of Uvicon television camera tubes for the experiment.

Box 16

Folder 5 General correspondence, A-Z.

Box 16 of 20

Folder 6 Aircraft Armaments Inc., 1960-1962.

Box 16 of 20

Folder 7 Aircraft Armaments Inc. Proposal, "Aerobie-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 16 of 20

Box 17

Folder 1 Aircraft Armaments Inc. Proposal for the construction of an antenna for the Aerobee-HI Missile, January 1961.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 2 Baird - Atomic, Inc., 1958-1963.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 3 Bausch & Lomb Incorporated, 1959-1963.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 4 Bendix Aviation Corporation, 1958-1961.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 5 Bendix Aviation Corporation. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 17 of 20

Folder 6 Bendix Aviation Corporation, Friez Instrument Division, 1958.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 7 Black Light Eastern Corporation, 1958-1961.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 8 Boller and Chivens, Inc., 1958.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 9 Chance Vought Aircraft, Inc., 1959-1961.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 10 Consolidated Systems Corporation, 1963.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 11 Defense Documentation Center, 1965.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 12 Dumont, Allen B. Laboratories, Inc., 1958-1960.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 13 General Devices Inc., 1958-1960.

Box 17 of 20

Folder 14 General Electric Company. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 17 of 20

Folder 15 General Electric Company. Proposal, "Ultraviolet Sensitive Camera Tubes," June 1961 (bid #61-SI-857).

Box 17 of 20

Box 18

Folder 1 General Electric Company. "Airborne Design Study," undated.

Box 18 of 20

Folder 2 Hallamore Electronics Company. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 18 of 20

Folder 3 HRB-Singer, Inc. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 18 of 20

Folder 4 Hughes Aircraft Company. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 18 of 20

Folder 5 A. D. Jones Optical Works, 1959.

Box 18 of 20

Folder 6 Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, 1959-1961.

Box 18 of 20

Folder 7 McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 18 of 20

Folder 8 Machlett Laboratories, Inc., 1958-1959.

Box 18 of 20

Folder 9 Machlett Laboratories, Inc. Proposal, "Ultraviolet Sensitive Camera Tubes," July 1961 (bid #61-SI-857).

Box 18 of 20

Folder 10 The Martin Company. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 18 of 20

Folder 11 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1958-1961.

Box 18 of 20

Folder 12 Adolf Meller Company, 1959-1963.

Box 18 of 20

Box 19

Folders 1-2 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Copies of correspondence between NASA and contractors working on instrumentation for Project Celescope, 1963-1964.

Box 19 of 20

Folder 3 Philco Corporation, 1960-1961.

Box 19 of 20

Folder 4 Philco Corporation. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 19 of 20

Folder 5 Radio Corporation of America, 1958-1962.

Box 19 of 20

Folder 6 Radio Corporation of America. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 19 of 20

Folder 7 Radio Corporation of America. Proposal, "Ultraviolet Sensitive Camera Tubes," July 1961 (bid #61-SI-857).

Box 19 of 20

Folder 8 Radio Corporation of America. Proposal, "Technical Proposal for Celescope Payload," August 1961 (bid #61-SI-858).

Box 19 of 20

Folder 9 Rauland Corporation, 1962.

Box 19 of 20

Folder 10 Rauland Corporation. Proposal, "Ultraviolet Sensitive Camera Tubes," June 1961 (bid #61-SI-857).

Box 19 of 20

Folder 11 Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, Inc., Dage Television Division. Proposal for the development of a television system for Project Celescope, March 1960.

Box 19 of 20

Box 20

Folder 1 United States Army Engineering Research and Development Laboratories, 1960-1963.

Box 20 of 20

Folder 2 United States Department of Commerce, Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1961-1963.

Box 20 of 20

Folder 3 Vought Astronautics. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 20 of 20

Folders 4-7 Westinghouse Electric Corporation, correspondence, November 1958-July 1965.

Box 20 of 20

Folder 8 Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Proposal, "Aerobee-HI Instrumentation for Project Celescope," March 1960 (bid #60-SI-812).

Box 20 of 20

Folder 9 Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Proposal, "Technical Proposal for Standardization and Determination of Life for Developmental Electrostatic Uvicon Tubes," April 1961.

Box 20 of 20

Folder 10 Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Proposal, "Technical Proposal for Celescope Payload and Ground Support Equipment," August 1961 (bid #61-SI-858).

Box 20 of 20