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Guide to the Robert W. Jackson Collection, 1964-1999
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Materials

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Robert W. Jackson Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1964-1999
    Collection number: PP03.02
    Creator: Jackson, Robert W. (Robert William)
    Extent: 1.4 cubic feet
    Repository: NASA Ames Research Center Ames History Office
    Moffett Field, California 94035
    Abstract: This collection consists of materials that document four NASA space programs during the years 1967 to 1988: Biosatellite, Magellan, Pioneer and Voyager. The materials were collected by Robert W. Jackson, who served as Recovery Controller for the Biosatellite program and as Flight Director for the Pioneer spacecraft.
    Physical location: NASA Ames History Office, NASA Ames Research Center
    Language: All material is in English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright does not apply to United States government records. For non-governmental material, researcher must contact origical creator.

    Preferred Citation

    NASA Ames History Office, NASA Ames Research Center. Moffett Field, California. PP03.02, Robert W. Jackson Collection, 1964-1999, [Container number] : [Folder number]. [Identification of item]. [Date, if available].

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by Robert W. Jackson in January 2004.


    Robert William Jackson was born March 31, 1937 in Yonkers, New York. He earned a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959. After working for the Boeing Company, he received an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 1963. He joined the NASA Ames Research Center in 1963.
    At NASA Ames, Mr. Jackson provided Mission Analysis and Study Management for numerous scientific space project studies including: Earth Orbiting and Reentry Satellites; Free Flying and Space Station attached telescopes; Earth Escape Missions; Planetary Orbiters for Venus, Moon, and Mars; and Entry Probe and Lander Missions to Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
    Mr. Jackson performed recovery planning for the Earth Orbiting Biosatellite flights in the late 1960s and served as Recovery Controller during the flights. During the 1980s, he served as Flight Director for the Pioneer Venus Orbiter spacecraft, including the periods when the spacecraft was used as a remote observatory for Comets. He also simultaneously served as Flight Director for the six older Interplanetary Pioneer spacecraft.
    Mr. Jackson was responsible for operations planning for the Space Station-based Biological Research Project and managed preparations for the first item of NASA Ames hardware to be operated in the Station, a Passive Dosimeter system.
    He has received numerous NASA awards including an Exceptional Service Medal for Pioneer Venus operations.
    Mr. Jackson served as Chief of the Spacecraft Operations Branch in 1992 until his retirement from NASA in August 2001.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Robert W. Jackson Collection (1.67 linear feet) is composed of journal articles, photographs, monographs and other publications, and reports that cover four NASA space missions: Biosatellite, Magellan, Pioneer, and Voyager.


    The collection is organized into four series based on these space missions.
    The first series, Biosatellite, contains clippings and publications about the Biosatellite Project. The three Biosatellites were earth-orbiting biological satellites that were designed to return their experiments to the ground for analysis at the conclusion of their flights. Their combined mission was to study the effects on living organisms of weightlessness, radiation, weightlessness combined with radiation, and the absences of the effects of the earth's rotation, such as the removal of the normal 24 hours day-night cycle.
    The second series, Magellan, contains primarily journal articles about the Magellan Mission. Magellan was launched in 1989, arrived at Venus in and went into orbit around the planet in 1990, gathering radar images of its surface, data on its gravity field, and gathering data on its geologic structure. The mission was terminated in October 1994 when the Magellan spacecraft was sent into the atmosphere of Venus where it was destroyed, marking the first time an operating planetary spacecraft was intentionally crashed.
    The third series, Pioneer, represents the majority of the collection. It contains clippings, images, journal issues, publications and reports on the Pioneer Missions 6-13. The Pioneer Missions were designed to study the sun's environment and the planets in the solar system, performing first of their kind explorations of the sun, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.
    The most significant of these spacecraft were Pioneer 10 and 11, the first spacecraft to explore Jupiter and Saturn, and the first spacecraft to exit the solar system. Pioneer 10's mission ended in 1997 and the spacecraft has continued to explore the solar system when its last contact with Earth was made in 2003. Pioneer 11's mission ended in 1995 when its instruments had no power to make scientific observations. Both Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 carry a gold anodized plaque bolted to the spacecraft’s main frame that contains a graphic message of Earth and its human inhabitants, in the event that the spacecraft are intercepted by other intelligence.
    The fourth and final series in the collection, Voyager, contains images and a publication about the Voyager Mission. The Voyager Interstellar Mission was a two-spacecraft mission to the outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune that was launched in 1977. Voyager 2's mission is now known as Voyager Interstellar Mission as it heads out of the solar system at a rate of about 290 million miles a year.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms may be used to index this collection.

    Personal Names

    Jackson, Robert W.

    Subject Terms

    Magellan Spacecraft
    Pioneer Project
    Pioneer (Space Probes)
    Space Biology
    Voyager Project

    Geographic Names

    Moffett Field (Calif.)

    Corporate Names

    Ames Research Center

    Separated Materials

    All NASA Special Publications (NASA SP) have been removed from the collection and placed with the Ames History Office Reference Collection.