It looks like that NASA is soliciting public opinion regarding Wernher von Braun's notes concerning early space history.
"NASA Wants Your Ideas for Digitizing Rocket Scientist's Notes"
June 26th, 2009
June 26th, 2009
NASA is taking the rare step of reaching out to the public for help. The space agency is looking for the best way to analyze and electronically catalog a precious collection of notes that chronicle the early history of the human space flight program.
"We're looking for creative ways to get it out to the public," said project manager Jason Crusan. "We don't always do the best with putting out large sets of data like this."
The notes [pdf] are those of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, the fist director of NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and are typed with copious hand written notes in the margin. According to the official request for information [pdf], NASA needs ideas on what format to use, how to index the notes and how to create a useful database.
The unique nature and historical value of the data, literally discovered in boxes six months ago, is what motivated NASA to ask the public for ideas.
"It's first-hand insight on how management and engineering decisions were made on a real-time basis," Crusan said. "It's quite scrawled upon all over the place."
Von Braun was born in Germany and led the German army's "rocket team" which developed ballistic missiles. His V-2 missile was used on European targets during World War II. When it became clear to von Braun that Germany was going to lose the war, he surrendered himself, 500 of his best rocket scientists, plans and vehicles to the Allies. The team moved to the United States and worked on missile development for the U.S. Army.
In 1960, rocket development was shifted to NASA where von Braun headed Marshall Spaceflight Center and led the Saturn rocket project. In 1970 he moved to Washington D.C. to lead the strategic planning of the project and in 1972 he retired from NASA.
The details of von Braun’s role in the German army (he received an honorary SS rank from Heinrich Himmler) and his conversion to a NASA pioneer are still being assessed, and his notes are considered a historically valuable source of information about Marshall.
"He was significantly important in the formation of the Apollo program," Crusan said.
If you have ideas, let NASA know. If that’s not your cup of tea, perhaps you can help NASA find a location for it's 40th anniversary "Salute to Apollo: The Kennedy Legacy" party or sell them that automated torque wrench calibration system you've been meaning to put on Craigslist.
Спутник-1 or Sputnik-1--science; politics
Close, but no cigar
Deceased--Charles H. Schneer
Von Braun sketches for sale