Agency history, 1958-1968

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  • Lundquist, Charles A
  • Whipple, Fred L (Fred Lawrence) 1906-2004
  • Burke, John J
  • Davis, Robert T
  • Megerian, G. K
  • Nitchie, Francis R. Jr


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives 1996
  • 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 obtained 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 their Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO) program. 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 reached a climax on December 7, 1968, when NASA launched the second OAO satellite containing the Celescope experiment.
  • The project's primary staff included Fred L. Whipple, Project Director; Robert T. 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.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of " above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1958
  • 1958-1968


  • Artificial satellites
  • Astrophysics
  • Telescopes


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00174

Full Record

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