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Author Topic:   Apollo Lunar Module documentation archive
Lem13
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posted 10-22-2010 11:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lem13   Click Here to Email Lem13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In doing some research for a misidentified flown auction lot I won, I stumbled upon an incredible Apollo document hoard. I spent three days just going through 40 boxes of original Grumman documentation on LM-4 and LM-11. They have 180 FEET worth of boxes on the Lunar Module alone.

I've posted some pictures on my blog lem13.com. The tiny fraction of material I examined appeared completely virgin since the 60's, still tied up with string. Before I divulge the location I'm just curious if anyone has any guesses.

I think the find is a game changer for the existing knowledge base in terms of how these spacecraft were built.

davidcwagner
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From: Albuquerque, New Mexico
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posted 10-23-2010 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for davidcwagner   Click Here to Email davidcwagner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great Find!

A professional copy service would probably PDF everything that you for only a few hundred dollars especially if you gave them permission to to it around their high priority jobs. Have them identify each document by title and date. Then you could sell CDs of the info and recoup your investment. Put me down for one.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 10-23-2010 02:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do you own these documents, or did you just discover an existing archive?

In any case if there's any way you can make this material available to others that would be great.

This kind of paperwork defintely needs to be scanned for posterity.

nasamad
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From: Essex, UK
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posted 10-23-2010 04:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did have a list of US archives that held many feet of historic Apollo documents, I think it came from the old NASA History website. I'm sure they were in educational institutions and national archives, I remember it because I had never heard of archives being listed in feet before that!

Lem13
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posted 10-23-2010 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lem13   Click Here to Email Lem13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I discovered an existing archive. The plan is to write a definitive resource book/CD and get everything scanned into a searchable PDF format. I'd be great if I could get some co-authors/collaborators to help with the project. The time and expensive will be high based on the sheer amount of material. For example, there are over 20 boxes of Recordak microfilm tapes with JUST lunar module documentation. A good first step would be to find out about getting a high speed microfilm scanner can handle Recordak tapes.

Lem13
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posted 10-24-2010 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lem13   Click Here to Email Lem13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nasamad:
I'm sure they were in educational institutions and national archives, I remember it because I had never heard of archives being listed in feet before that!
You got it. The location is:

US National Archives
1400 John Burgess Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76140

To search for all things Apollo related I'd recommend this link, specifically the Apollo section.

Apparently the location is well known to hardcore collectors but surprisingly there doesn't appear to be anything published. If you've visited the facility can you share your experiences and what you found?

My experience is that the the record locators are extremely general. The archivist did his/her best to sort but really what you find in an individual box is like a box of chocolates, you don't know what you're gonna get.

kr4mula
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From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-25-2010 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aww, you posted the answer before I saw the question! I researched extensively in the NASA stuff at NARA-Ft. Worth for my dissertation and had the pleasure of a guided tour of the storage areas by the then-director. He was a NASA fanatic of sorts and took a personal interest in the collections of the agency (and anyone who was there to research them). He showed me the rows of LM documentation that had basically never been touched since they were donated. He was concerned that there was so much minutia on all of the LMs that they might have to consider culling down to just a few, but I don't know if that ever happened.

My overall experience there (which was about 9 years ago), was very positive. The staff was incredibly helpful during all of my visits. The problems I had (at the time) were the lack of a decent finding aid (you'd pull one collection and it might have 100+ boxes that you'd have to sort through, which would take days) and lack of suitable copying. They had a slow copier that cost $0.25 a page. Hopefully at least that last part is better now, or they let you use a portable scanner. But overall, it was great and I was pretty much the only researcher there every time.

As for what's there, the facility does have the online finding aid that you can see through the link in the previous post, but that's still pretty general in terms of what you can find. They have a lot of materials the folks here should be familiar with, namely the documents collected by the former MSC historians to write the official Mercury (This New Ocean) and Gemini (Shoulders of Titans) histories. The organization of those is a little suspect, so it can take some digging to find particular documents. As mentioned in an early thread elsewhere, NARA is reclaiming the Apollo documentation used for "Chariots for Apollo" and the Apollo Chronologies from JSC/UHCL and will put those in Ft. Worth. These are just a small part of the collection, however. They have rows upon rows of the technical documentation, correspondence, reports, etc. from MSC. Keep in mind that these are government records, so the contractor stuff you will see are their reports to NASA and the like, not internal documentation.

Lem13
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posted 10-25-2010 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lem13   Click Here to Email Lem13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Awesome stuff kr4mula! I became concerned when archivist just came right out and said the microfilm was decaying. Something needs to be done to get that stuff digitized into PDF. Is the director still in charge? That would be perfect if he became aware of the situation.

kr4mula
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From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-25-2010 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, I believe the NARA-Ft. Worth director from back then retired a few years ago. I don't know who is in charge now and if they have any particular interest in the NASA stuff. The old staff thought it was odd that someone at the director-level was concerning himself with the details of one collection, but it was certainly helpful to me!

Lem13
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posted 10-26-2010 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lem13   Click Here to Email Lem13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Touring the facility with the director sure didn't hurt your chances with the staff being helpful.

I posted the record group list in the downloads section on lem13.com.

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