Finding Aid for the Frank B. Estabrook Papers

Penelope Neder
California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives
1200 East California Blvd.
Mail Code B215A-74
Pasadena, CA 91125

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: California Institute of Technology. Caltech Archives
Title: Frank B. Estabrook Papers
creator: Estabrook, Frank B., 1922-
Identifier/Call Number: 10238-MS
Physical Description: 3.1 Linear feet (8 boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1966-2004
Abstract: Frank B. Estabrook is a Caltech alumus (M.S. 1947, PhD 1950). Estabrook was a physicist at JPL from 1960 to 2006, and Distinguished Visiting Scientist from 2006-2016. He is currently retired. Estabrook's papers consist of project outlines, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, and reports related to the Galileo spacecraft and gravitational wave research.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Researchers must apply in writing for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright may not have been assigned to the California Institute of Technology Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Caltech Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the California Institute of Technology Archives as the owner of the physical items and, unless explicitly stated otherwise, is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Frank B. Estabrook Papers, 10238-MS, Caltech Archives, California Institute of Technology.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Frank B. Estabrook donated his papers to the Caltech Archives in 2007.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in September 2016. All materials were originally in descending order, unfoldered. To assist researchers accessing this collection, the processing archivist grouped like items to create series and subseries and organized the papers in acid-free folders. The papers were arranged in chronogical order.

Biographical / Historical

Frank Behle Estabrook (1922- ) began his academic career at Miami University in Ohio, and earned his BA in Physics and Math in 1943. His interest in the study of gravitational waves began after learning Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity as a Caltech graduate student. He earned both his M.S. and PhD in Physics and Math from Caltech in 1947 and 1950. After completing his PhD, Estabrook returned to his alma mater, Miami University for two years as an assistant professor in physics. In 1953 he returned to California and worked as a reactor physicist at Atomics International, a division of North American Aviation. In 1956 he worked for the U.S. Army’s Office of Ordnance Research awarding research contracts.
Estabrook began his career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1960, where he first worked half-time on relativity and half-time on reactor physics. Estabrook returned to Caltech as a physics lecturer, and taught the course Physics 236, Relativity Theory in 1962 and 1964. In 1981 he taught differential geometry as a lecturer in Applied Mathematics.
As a JPL scientist, Estabrook’s areas of research consisted of spectroscopy, neutron transport physics, differential geometry, general relativity and cosmology, and gravitational radiation. One of Estabrook's notable joint projects was JPL/NASA's Galileo spacecraft gravitational waves search experiment (1989-2003) using x-band uplink frequency, but was unsuccessful in detecting gravitational waves. Throughout his career he published more than 90 refereed papers in general relativity, gravitational radiation, and differential geometry. He formally retired in 2006, but continued his work at JPL as Distinguished Visiting Scientist until his official retirement in 2016, and is currently fully retired.
The Frank B. Estabrook Oral History with Shirley K. Cohen can be accessed in the Caltech Archives.

Scope and Contents

The Frank B. Estabrook Papers are housed in 8 archival boxes (1 half-sized and 7 standard archival boxes). The papers are divided into three series, with one series divided into three subseries. The three series are: 1. Galileo and Gravitational Waves Projects, 2. Correspondence, and 3. Reports and Proposals.
Series 1: Galileo and Gravitational Waves Projects has been divided into 3 subseries. Subseries 1: Project Outlines contains outlines for Galileo planning efforts, ka-band and x-band radio science, and gravitational wave detection outlines, arranged in chronological order. Subseries 2: Meetings contains meeting minutes and schedules, arranged in chronological order. Subseries 3: Miscellaneous includes gravitational waves papers, NASA and JPL promotional material, and news clippings.
Series 2: Correspondence includes correspondence and interoffice memoranda to and from JPL, NASA, Caltech, or Joint Gravitational Wave Experiment group. Also includes letters from international letter writing campaigns.
Series 3: Reports and Proposals includes reports on Deep Space Network system requirements, the Jupiter Orbiter Probe, and also experiment proposals, mission requirements documents, and project plans.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Gravitational waves
Estabrook, Frank B.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Series 1: Galileo and Gravitational Waves Projects 1970-2004


Subseries 1: Project Outlines 1977-1997

box 1, folder 1

Project outlines re: gravitational wave detection, Galileo '85 mission 1977-1978, 1981

box 1, folder 2

Project outlines re: Galileo, X-band uplink, DPN Doppler, relativity 1982

box 1, folder 3

Project outlines re: Galileo, gravitational waves, spacecraft Doppler data 1987-1988

box 1, folder 4

Project outline for potential ASI collaboration on Cassini and SCM temperature regulation system 1989

box 1, folder 5

Project outlines and status re: Cassini, ka-band, x-band radio science, Galileo 1990

box 1, folder 6

GLL (Galileo) outline 1990-1991

box 1, folder 7

Project outlines re: Galileo goals and project status 1991 January-May

box 1, folder 8

Galileo Radio Science Team project packet 1992

box 1, folder 9

Project outlines re: gravity wave experiment, s-band 1992

box 1, folder 10

Project outlines re: joint Galileo/Mars Observer/Ulysses gravitational wave experiment, x-band 1993

box 1, folder 11

Project outlines re: x-band, Galileo/Mars Observer/Ulysses coincidence experiment 1994-1995, 1997


Subseries 2: Meetings 1975-1992

box 2, folder 1

Meetings re: relativity, x-band, gravitational waves 1975, 1978

box 2, folder 2

Workshops 1978

box 2, folder 3

Meetings re: Galileo probe, x-band uplink 1979-1980, 1982

box 2, folder 4

NASA headquarters meeting 1988 February 29

box 2, folder 5

Meetings re: Galileo RST, starset availability 1990

box 2, folder 6

Meetings re: Galileo, gravity wave experiment 1991, 1992


Subseries 3: Miscellaneous 1970-2004

box 2, folder 7

Published papers and articles 1970-2004


Contains published papers by various authors, including Frank Estabrook, Hugo D. Wahlquist, and Kip Throne on spacecraft Doppler tracking, searches for millihertz gravitational waves, Pioneer II, Galileo, Ulysses, Mars Observer, Cassini, and LISA.
box 2, folder 8

Caltech News 1970

box 2, folder 9

NASA news and promotional material 1977, 1979, 1988-1990

box 2, folder 10

Calculations, graphs, and notes 1978-1994, undated

box 2, folder 11

Galileo Radio Science Team roster and miscellaneous 1979-1994

box 2, folder 12

JPL news 1989, 1993

box 2, folder 13

Joint gravitational wave search press release 1993

box 2, folder 14

News clippings and magazine articles 1993, 1996


Primarily articles on Galileo and the search for gravity waves. Magazine articles include interviews and mentions of Frank Estabrook.
box 2, folder 15

Galileo investigator and project manager directory 1996 March


Series 2: Correspondence 1966-1997

box 3, folder 1

Correspondence 1966, 1969-1972

box 3, folder 2

Correspondence and memoranda 1974 February - 1975 November

box 3, folder 3

Correspondence and memoranda 1976 February-December

box 3, folder 4

Correspondence and memoranda 1977 January-December

box 3, folder 5

International letter writing campaign 1977, 1978 June-September


This campaign was to get the X-band onboard the Galileo mission.
box 3, folder 6

Correspondence and memoranda 1978 Jamuary- December

box 3, folder 7

X-band rejection notices 1978-1982

box 3, folder 8

Correspondence and memoranda 1979 January-November

box 3, folder 9

Correspondence and memoranda 1980 January-December

box 3, folder 10

Second international letter writing campaign 1980 August-September

box 3, folder 11

Correspondence and memoranda 1981 January-December

box 4, folder 1

Correspondence and memoranda 1982 January-April

box 4, folder 2

Correspondence and memoranda 1983 January-November

box 4, folder 3

Correspondence and memoranda 1984 January - 1986 November

box 4, folder 4

Correspondence and memoranda 1984 January - 1986 November

box 4, folder 5

Correspondence and memoranda 1987 February- December

box 4, folder 6

Correspondence and memoranda 1988 January - 1989 December

box 4, folder 7

Correspondence and memoranda 1990 February - December

box 5, folder 1

Correspondence and memoranda re: Galileo and x-band 1991 January-November

box 5, folder 2

Galileo status reports 1991 April-June

box 5, folder 3

Correspondence and memoranda re: ka-band radio science 1992 January-November

box 5, folder 4

Interoffice memoranda 1993 March-November

box 5, folder 5

Correspondence and memoranda 1994 February-November

box 5, folder 6

Correspondence and memoranda re: gravitational wave experiment 1995-1997


Series 3: Reports and Proposals 1969-1995

box 6, folder 1

Proposal for a general relativity investigation radio science team Viking 1973, Mars mission 1969 October 10

box 6, folder 2

Issues in Gravitational Wave Detection with Space Missions 1973 June 18

box 6, folder 3

Cosmic microwave background radiation paper 1974 October 29

box 6, folder 4

Detection of Gravitational Radiation by Simultaneous Doppler Tracking of Several Spacecraft 1975, 1976

box 6, folder 5

Gravitational Waves from the Nuclei of Distant Galaxies draft by Kip Thorne 1975 June 1

box 6, folder 6

Cosmic Microwave Experiment Proposal: Part I 1976


The investigation and technical plan.
box 6, folder 7

Cosmic Wave Experiment Proposal: Part II 1976


Management and cost plan.
box 6, folder 8

Jupiter Orbiter Probe 1981/1982 Mission 1976


Includes mission description document, science management plan, science rationale, and proposal.
box 6, folder 9

Miscellaneous proposals and plans 1976-1978, 1982

box 6, folder 10

Deep Space Network (DSN), Spacecraft Tracking and Future Technology for Relativity Experiments presentation 1977 April 22-24

box 6, folder 11

Proposed Radio Science Investigation for the Ecliptic Mission 1977 August 16

box 6, folder 12

Gravitational Wave Detection with the Solar Probe 1978

box 6, folder 13

Galileo project plan and policy 1978 May-August

box 6, folder 14

Deep Space Network system requirements 1979 April 15

box 6, folder 15

Planetary Data System Requirements: Multi-mission radio science requirements for the 1978 to 1988 era 1979 October 1

box 7, folder 1

Proposed radio science investigation 1980


For the International Solar Polar Mission.
box 7, folder 2

An Understanding of the Influences of Gravitational Experiments on a Solar Probe Mission 1980 March 31

box 7, folder 3

X-band Uplink Technology Demonstration Experiment Requirements documents 1981 January 15

box 7, folder 4

Draft report of the Starprobe ad hoc gravity and relativity committee 1981 March 3

box 7, folder 5

Galileo Mission Requirements document 1981 December

box 7, folder 6

Gravitational Waves Detection 1982 September, 1983 May-July

box 7, folder 7

1986 Galileo Project: NASA support plan 1983 November 15

box 7, folder 8

Project Galileo X-band Uplink Technology Demonstration Experiments document 1984 April

box 7, folder 9

Report on the third station stability x-band measurements at DSS 13 1984 June

box 7, folder 10

Mars Observer Telecommunications Subsystem 1985, undated

box 7, folder 11

Multi-Mission Radio Science Requirements for the 1985 to 2000 era 1985 March 15

box 7, folder 12

Deep Space Network preparation plan, Galileo Project 1985 April 15, May 1

box 7, folder 13

Deep Space Network System functional design, x-band uplink 1986 May 1

box 7, folder 14

Galileo Mission requirements documents 1987 March

box 7, folder 15

Support Instrumentation requirements document (SIRD) for the 1989 Galileo Project 1988 May

box 7, folder 16

Problem/failure report 1989 September 18

box 7, folder 17

Galileo Mission Director Status Report Post-Launch 1989 October-November

box 7, folder 18

Cassini Ka-Band Precision Doppler and Enhanced Telecommunications System study 1990 January 22

box 7, folder 19

Search for the Low-Frequency Gravitational Waves Using the Cassini RSS Facility 1990 February 8

box 8, folder 1

Gravitational Wave Experiment 1990 July

box 8, folder 2

Galileo Science Data Management Plan 1990 November 2

box 8, folder 3

Ulysses Gravitational Wave Experiment Report on the First Opposition 1991 December

box 8, folder 4

Ulysses: IO Plasma Torus Orientation Experiment and Gravitational Wave Experiment operations and data products report 1992 August 28

box 8, folder 5

Gravitational Waves progress reports 1993, undated

box 8, folder 6

Joint Gravitational Wave Experiment (jGWE) operations and data products report 1993 June 14

box 8, folder 7

Gravitational Wave Experiment 95 1995 August 16

box 8, folder 8

Astrodynamics, astrophysics, general relativity program first draft undated

box 8, folder 9

Miscellaneous reports re: gravitational waves undated