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Guide to the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory and NASA Langley Research Center Records at NARA Philadelphia, 1918-1996
RG 255  
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Series Description

 

Series I: Project Correspondence Files, 1944-1973

Physical Description: 178 LTA-1 containers.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains record files of official correspondence pertaining to specific NASA projects, which were kept by the Langley Research Center. Correspondence records here and in Series II and III reflect the organizational methods regarding the written communications of the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory and NASA Langley Research Center. During the NACA days, copies of all letters, incoming and outgoing, were made for central files. (All outgoing correspondence was reviewed and revised up through the division level until sanctioned in its final form by the office of the chief of research; then it was signed by the engineer-in-charge. All incoming letters were opened and copied by mail clerks before being routed to addressees.) Copies of correspondence were placed into one or more subject files, which were arranged according to an alphanumeric code unique to Langley (see the Related Material section of this guide for access to a PDF version of the document). Within each subject, papers were arranged by date.
This series provides researchers with an in-depth look at the Langley Research Center when it was the premier aeronautical and aerospace facility in the world. The records in this series cover Langley's valuable contributions, in terms of scientific knowledge and use of Langley facilities, in the fields of supersonic and hypersonic jet flight; satellite development in the commercial and scientific sectors; rocket and missile development for military and civilian use; and NASA's space flight program, to name a few examples.
The largest project files here deal with the D-558 Douglas Skyrocket (and its off shoots, the D-558-I and the D-558-II--the first plane ever to reach Mach 2; the Dyna-Soar (an early precursor to the Space Shuttle); the Mercury and Gemini space programs; and the X-1, X-2, and X-15 experimental flight testing programs which allowed NASA to explore the supersonic, thermal, and hypersonic flight regimes, respectively.
Researchers should note that frequent use of Langley's wind tunnels during the development and pre-flight testing of early missiles, jet planes, and spacecraft are a dominant feature in this series. Another item of interest for researchers is the periodic status reports sent from Edwards Air Force base in California to Langley concerning experimental flight test programs. The official status report of Chuck Yeager's historic first supersonic flight in the X-1 can be found in the X-1 (FCR) file. The accident report of Milburn Apt's fatal X-2 flight where he flew at Mach 3 can be found in the X-2 file. A letter personally autographed by the late NASA astronaut Donald K. "Deke" Slayton can be found in the Skylab project file. The names of many famous pilots and astronauts can be found in this series: Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager, and Scott Crossfield, to name a few.
The records in this series are textual, photographic, and graphic in form. Textual records will consist mostly of, but will not be restricted to, status reports on NASA projects, internal memos, proposals for experiments, flight tests, wind tunnel tests, and official papers on NASA programs. Photographic records consist mainly of pictures of various types of aircraft and spacecraft, layouts of airplane cockpits, accident wreckage, displays of new pressure suits and equipment. Graphic records will deal primarily with telemetry data from various NASA flight-test programs dealing with aircraft, rockets, and missiles; wind tunnel charts; and diagrams of aircraft.
The records are arranged alphabetically by project name and thereunder in reverse chronological order. The container list includes project name, date of files, box number, and shelf location of the files.
This series contains both unclassified and formerly classified material. All recently declassified materials in this series will have "F.C.R.," which stands for formerly classified records, written on the folders.
 

Series II: Subject Correspondence Files, 1918-1978

Physical Description: 869 LTA-S containers.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains the central correspondence files of the Langley Research Center. The scope of these files is much broader than in Series I. Researchers will find a greater variety of information in these files. Series II consists of textual, photographic, and graphic records. The subject correspondence records may feature photographs, telemetry data on rockets and aircraft, routine correspondence, annual reports on flight test programs, research papers on aeronautical phenomena, accident reports on plane crashes at Langley and other NASA facilities, trips taken by Langley's top scientists and directors.
Most files in this series are coded according to the following list. There are other file codes in this series, but those listed here correspond to the vast majority of the records here. (A General Files Numerical Subject Code Book, which lists all of Langley's numerical subject codes, is available as a supplemental finding aid. See the Related Material section of this guide for access to a PDF version of the document.)
  • File Code "A" concerns aircraft and helicopter development. The files deal with aircraft, engine, and wing designs, aircraft companies, equipment, meteorological problems encountered in flight.
  • File Code "B" contains correspondence Langley sent to and received from its sister facilities in NASA and other government organizations throughout the United States.
  • File Code "C" deals with Langley's internal matters such as personnel, hiring policies, budget concerns, construction of new facilities, occupational concerns, employee morale, to name a few.
  • File Code "E" deals with Langley's managerial structures, processes, and decision-making mechanisms; also included are files concerning visits by domestic and foreign dignitaries, as well as individual files kept on Langley's most prominent scientists and directors.
  • File Code "AA" concerns Langley's relations with private companies.
  • File Code "H" pertains to Langley's research of Hydrodynamic phenomena, i.e., the study of the dynamics of fluids, especially incompressible fluids in motion.
  • File Code "P" deals with Langley's research in propulsion systems and power plants in aircraft.
  • File Code "T" deals with Langley's research in aircraft instrumentation.
The records in this series are arranged alpha numerically in reverse chronological order. The container list includes the file code, subject matter, dates, and box numbers of the files. Full entries of abbreviated subject names are footnoted for most listings.
This series contains both unclassified and formerly classified material. All recently declassified materials in this series will have "F.C.R.," which stands for formerly classified records, written on the folders.
 

Series III: Microfilm Copies of Subject Correspondence Files, 1920-1984

Physical Description: 388 MIC-B containers.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains microform copies of Langley's subject correspondence files dated from 1920 to 1984. Materials in Boxes 79 and 80 contain classified material. (Note: There are no roll #'s 199-200.)
An index, file codes, numerical codebook, and roll report are available as supplemental finding aids (see the Related Material section of this guide for access to a PDF version of the document).
 

Series IV: Newsletters and Publications, 1942-1996

Physical Description: 8 LTA-1 containers.

Scope and Content Note

The center's newsletter began as a weekly news bulletin from the Public Affairs Office containing information pertinent to the Langley Research Center employees. Although it remained constant in style, the title changed several times: LMAL Bulletin, 11/30/1942-11/24/1944; Air Scoop, 12/01/1944-09/14/1962; The Langley Researcher, 09/28/1962-07/03/1987; and The Researcher News, 07/17/1987-1996. World War II era publications describe patriotic wartime efforts and bond drives. Issues include articles about Langley Projects, developments in space exploration and aeronautical technology, and training. There are also features (some with photographs) relating to the Mercury and Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The publications sometimes include official memorandums from the Langley Field Director and various government officials, and world news items. Many editions offer sports and entertainment news, engagement and wedding announcements, and bulletins regarding retirements and deaths. With the exception of a few missing issues, the collection is complete.
This series is arranged chronologically by date of publication.
 

Series V: Management Files, 1980-1996

Physical Description: 29 FRC-S containers.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of management files kept by Langley center directors Richard H. Petersen and Paul F. Holloway. The files consist of senior staff meeting notes, OAST Management Council records, records of the reorganization of the Langley Research Center in 1994, appointment books, presentations, and monthly senior management meeting records.
 

Series VI: Office Records of the Scout Project, 1956-1995

Physical Description: 214 containers.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of reports and other records of the NASA SCOUT Project. The records consist primarily of specifications, design information releases, correspondence, procedures, manuals, reports, investigations, log books, photographs, and various studies and test result papers dealing with rockets and satellites. Many of the reports concern different systems relating to the SCOUT project and there exist a number of preliminary, pre-flight and final flight reports. Most of the work occurred at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia but there are also financial and operational records relating to the San Marco test site near Malindi, Kenya.
(Note: All NASA Scout records were sent to the National Archives at Atlanta, Georgia).
 

Series VII: Intergovernmental Personnel Act, 1993-1995 and Personnel Mobility Agreements, 1989-1991

Physical Description: 1 FRC-S container.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) and Personnel Mobility Agreements (PMA) entered into by the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The records were kept for scholars and engineers and other skilled personnel who were hired by the Langley Research Center for temporary duty in affiliation from various colleges and universities in Virginia and other areas. The IPAs and PMAs list the following information: employee's name, address, personal background, positions held, fiscal obligations, any conflicts of interest, letters of recommendation, and how their travel expenses or allowances would be covered (either by NASA or by the affiliated university). Access restrictions apply to records containing personally identifiable information.