To the moon and beyond

To the moon and beyond

There’s a solar system’s worth of information about the space program and its connection to Rice University on the Web:

A comprehensive look at NASA and Houston is the theme of the fall 2008 issue of Houston History magazine. It includes an article titled “Owls in Space,” with more about Rice’s connections to the Johnson Space Center.

“Suddenly, Tomorrow Came: A History of the Johnson Space Center” by Henry Dethloff is the source of several vignettes in this Rice News report.

The Curt Michel Collection at Rice’s Woodson Resource Center provides an insider’s view of NASA at a critical time in its history.

Douglas Brinkley, Rice professor of history and fellow in the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, and famed historian and author Stephen Ambrose conducted a lengthy interview with Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, in September 2001 for NASA’s Oral History Project.

Max Faget, who argued successfully for the form of America’s space capsules and played a major part in their design and construction as NASA’s director of engineering, taught graduate courses at Rice University.

Jack McCaine was project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers during the construction of what came to be the Johnson Space Center, and he later became an architect with NASA. His papers and memorabilia are now at Rice’s Woodson Research Center.

Rice was once the home of the entire Apollo library, which now resides at the University of Houston’s Clear Lake campus.

Former Rice News staffer Lia Unrau wrote a lengthy history of Rice’s scientific collaborations with NASA during and after Apollo.

Robert O’Dell, a former Rice professor now at Vanderbilt, was the first and longest-serving chief scientist attached to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Mike Massimino, an adjunct professor in mechanical engineering and materials science, recently visited the Hubble and helped fix it.

In March 2008, Rice alums Peggy Whitson and Takao Doi found themselves in orbit at the same time.

Tayfun Tezduyar, Rice’s James F. Barbour Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, is helping design parachutes that will bring the next generation of astronauts back to Earth.

The late Alan Chapman, former dean of engineering and professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, conducted research that was critical in the development of the helmet visors used on the moon.

Rice University student Samara Poplack is getting firsthand knowledge of the human spaceflight program this summer. Also enrolled at Baylor College of Medicine, Poplack is one of 18 students selected to work with scientists at NASA through a National Space Biomedical Research Institute internship.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.