Inventory of Shuttle/Centaur and Vandenberg Launch Site (VLS) Documents




JSC History Collection staff

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UHCL Archives staff


This subseries contains materials outlining the integration of the Centaur upper stage vehicle as a shuttle "upper stage" to boost satellites into higher orbits, perform plane changes, and to provide escape energy for planetary probes. The Shuttle/Centaur integration never proceeded beyond the design phase. This subseries also contains materials related to the Vandenberg Launch Site (VLS). The VLS facility, based at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, was to be a launch site for the shuttle on the West Coast. Its major purpose was launch capabilities for polar orbits of defense and research satellites, which are currently unavailable from Kennedy Space Center. Construction of the VLS was begun and almost completed by 1986, but the Challenger accident stopped production of the facility and the Air Force looked for other alternatives than the shuttle for its payloads.

The documents in this collection were arranged chronologically, since they originally arrived in a haphazard order. As a result, the majority of the Shuttle/Centaur materials are found in boxes 1-4, since they date from 1980-1984. An interesting feature of this collection is that it contains STS 83-1036, Shuttle/Centaur Level II Critical Design Review. This nine book, sixteen volume document of January 16, 1984, is also the red line copy, with annotations written in red ink throughout. The majority of the VLS documents date from September to November of 1985, when three major meetings on this subject took place: 1) VLS Design Certification Review (DCR), Level II, September 5-6, 1985; 2) VLS DCR, Level II Delta, October 24, 1985; and 3) VLS DCR, Level I, November 22, 1985. The October 24, 1985 meeting materials were represented by triplicate copies in separate folders, one for Arnold Aldrich, manager of the STS program; one for Bert Jackson, who appears to have been associated with Rockwell; and one copy designated "unmarked copy." All three folders contained the exact same documents for this meeting. Mr. Jackson's copies were incorporated into the collection because they contain annotations done in purple marker. Mention must also be made concerning the document "The STS Program at Vandenberg" found in box 2, as an explanation of the VLS program. The collection ends with two folders containing photographs of demolition and construction work on the VLS project (98 and 121 photographs, respectively). Some of the photographs have comments appended on the front or back describing the picture. The construction photographs include a note from Jeff Geiger, WSMC historian, to Janet Kovacevich, JSC archivist, dated August 10, 1990. The provenance of these materials is unknown, although the photographs and perhaps some documents came from Mr. Geiger.



NASA, Johnson Space Center, Space Shuttle, National Aeronautics and Space Administration