Shuttle Series

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The Shuttle Series Guide is the third in a series of guides to the Johnson Space Center Historian's Source Files (what is now called the Johnson Space Center History Collection). The first was produced in 1984 and covers the materials in the Johnson Space Center History Collection that were housed originally at Rice University, but transferred to the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2001 under a Space Act Agreement with NASA and the National Archives. The first guide covered the Mercury, Gemini, Skylab, and ASTP Series of records. The second guide was produced in 1986, and covered the Apollo Series of records. In 1984, the Shuttle (history) Project at NASA JSC began to collect and organize documentation for the chronology, and this is a guide to that documentation.

The Shuttle Program was an ongoing, massive, and complex technological undertaking at the time these records were collected. Its precursors date back as far as the A4 V-2 German rockets and its beginnings include logistics vehicle designs studied to support a space station as early as the 1960s. Phase A and Phase B study contracts began to seriously consider Shuttle designs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. From these came the Phase C/D contract to build the Shuttle which was awarded to North American Rockwell in 1972. In 1977 the first approach and landing test was accomplished, followed in 1981 by the official flight test program which flew STS-1 through STS-4. By the flight of STS-5 the Shuttle was considered operational. The Shuttle Chronology (written by historians at Rice University in partnership with JSC History Office) follows the Shuttle evolution only through the 1973 prime contract award and contract finalization. As it stands now, the Shuttle Series is incomplete, in that it only has records documenting STS missions 1 to 9, and 26 to 61-C. The STS-61-C mission flew in January 1986.

The Shuttle Series source files (as they were originally called) is organized into over 120 subseries with individual subseries and subsection inventories. Almost half of the source files consists of the chronological files of correspondence, with the bulk of that which remains consisting of contractor reports, photographs, and JSC-generated reports.

Some of the earliest Shuttle precursor documents date back to the 1950s, and the latest documents in the collection are dated in 1985. The bulk of the holdings, however, fall between 1972 and 1979. When background information on a subseries was known, the inventory includes that information in a scope and content note. The inventory itself consists, in most cases, of folder titles on the left margin and inclusive dates in that folder on the right margin. The exception occurs in contractor documents and other subseries containing large reports which are not arranged within folders. In those cases, the inventory consists of the document title on the left margin and the document date on the right margin.


Restrictions: There are no restrictions in the use of the Shuttle Series source file material. No classified documents are contained in the collection. However, some materials and records may fall under the United States government's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) regulations against sharing defense-based and scientific/technical information and records to countries listed as restricted or illegal to share the content with (which includes digital copies, emails, sharing records online, etc.).