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<em>ASK</em> Interactive (<em>ASK</em> 26)

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The History of NASA

Lessons from the past can help solve problems today, and the NASA History Division is a treasure trove of important lessons. Established in 1959, the NASA History Program documents and preserves the Agency’s remarkable history through a variety of products. The History Division serves two key functions: fulfilling the mandate of the 1958 Space Act, which called for NASA to disseminate aerospace information as widely as possible, and helping NASA managers understand and benefit from the study of past accomplishments and difficulties. The History Division has an array of resources available on their Web site,, including a list of interesting and helpful publications. One of their new books, Critical Issues in the History of Spaceflight, is a collection of essays that analyzes some of the perennial issues in the history of the Space Age. Edited by NASA Chief Historian Steven J. Dick and Roger D. Launius, former NASA chief historian and current chair of the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, the essays examine some of exploration’s perpetual questions: What are the motivations for space flight? Is human space flight necessary when robotic spacecraft are cheaper? This collection is available to read online at

Learning and Development

The Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (APPEL) has updated its curriculum offerings. The APPEL Program Management and Systems Engineering development structure includes three major components: core curriculum, in-depth courses, and outside-the-classroom development experiences. Evaluating the quality and results of this curriculum—and providing for its continuous improvement—is a high priority of the APPEL team. For more information, visit the newly revised site at https://appel/

Web of Knowledge

Find the new NASA Program and Project Management Processes and Requirements (NPR 7120.5D) and more in the NODIS library at The NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) is a searchable online library that contains agency-level directives, reports, other policy documents, and useful links to other executive orders, standards, and more. Since its inception in October 1986, NODIS has earned its reputation as a simple, efficient, and user-friendly service. Prior to NODIS, NASA relied heavily on telephones and the postal service for disseminating information and fulfilling data requests. NODIS played an instrumental role in revolutionizing information dissemination and request coordination at NASA. It won the 1992 Federal Leadership Award, co-sponsored by the Federal Open Systems Conference Board and the Federal Computer Week newspaper.

For More on Our Stories

Additional information pertaining to articles featured in this issue can be found by visiting the following Web sites:

Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE)

The Vision for Space Exploration

Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD)

The Hearth Report


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