McCoy, James E.

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    Finding Aid for the James E. McCoy Papers, 1965-2004 (#2015-0003)
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 2015)
    Dr. James Ernest McCoy (who went by "Jim") was born on May 4, 1941, to Amy and Ernest McCoy. McCoy went on to attend college at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He would go to work at the new NASA Manned Spacecraft Center campus in Houston, Texas, in 1963. McCoy worked on his PhD in Astrophysics at Rice University while also working at NASA. In his 43 years working at NASA, he worked on virtually every project: Gemini; Apollo, with experiments on Apollo 15 and Apollo 17; the Shuttle program; Space Station; and Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), the ion propulsion rocket. Dr. McCoy’s work contributes to the understanding of the Earth’s ionosphere and the Moon’s exosphere. He was an expert in moon dust. In 1971 Dr. McCoy was part of a team investigating the Earth’s electrometric field, the Moon’s movement through plasma, and the Moon’s interaction with plasma. Dr. McCoy in part sought to explain streamers, thin streaks of light rising from the lunar surface observed by Apollo astronauts during sunrise. Dr. McCoy also contributed to the field of electrodynamic tethers, innovative ways to provide power and thrust for spacecraft that were both cheaper and more efficient than current contemporary systems. The tethers are thin insulted wires, varying in length, with a plasma motor generator at the ends. McCoy also worked extensively with the European Space Agency on the Tethered Satellite program and flew his Plasma Motor Generator on the Delta 221 launch. In total, McCoy spent 43 years working for NASA. James McCoy died on November 28, 2014. The documents were produced during Dr. James McCoy’s endeavors as a physicists at NASA during his 43-year career at NASA and Johnson Space Center between 1965 and 2004. The bulk of the materials date from 1980 to 1993. The collection contains variety of media including: notes, slides, reports, pictures, negatives, blueprints, notebooks, and journal articles.
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    Hollow cathode assembly test history notes
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 1984-12)
    Notes detailing the test history of hollow cathode assembly #1-b.
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    Letter from Fredrick J. Rich, Department of the Army
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 1974-07-29)
    Letter from Fredrick J. Rich, department of the army, to Dr. McCoy regarding a sample research proposal.
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    Technician riveting solar panel array
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 1977-09-23)
    Photograph of a technician riveting a solar panel array for the Environmental Interactions program.
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    Plasma motor generator spool
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 1993-06-15)
    Photograph of plasma motor generator tether spool, final flight configuration.
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    Hollow cathode failure analysis notes
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 1984-06)
    Hand written notes detailing probable cause of a hollow cathode failure.
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    Memo and charts concerning tether sever rate from meteoroids and debris
    (University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives, 1984-08-21)
    Memorandum and charts from Donald Kessler predicting the amount of time, for a given length, until meteoroids or orbital debris sever a space tether.