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Atmosphere of Freedom
Sixty Years at the NASA Ames Research Center
(NASA SP-4314, 2000)
by Glenn Bugos
     Atmosphere of Freedom book cover View this book online

This detailed and fully-illustrated history of the NASA Ames Research Center describes its organizational structure, research culture, institutional leadership, major facilities and research programs from its founding in 1939 through 1999.

The first chapter discusses Ames' origins as the NACA's second laboratory, and wind tunnel construction and the development of aerodynamic theory from subsonic to supersonic to hypersonic flight.

The second chapter discusses Ames' transition into NASA, its contributions to the Apollo program, exobiology, simulators construction, and the Pioneer series of planetary explorers.

The third chapter describes Ames' positioning in NASA's Shuttle era, roughly 1970 to 1990. Specifically, it covers the growth of research expertise in gravitational biology and planetary sciences, Earth observation and infrared astronomy, tilt rotor aircraft and helicopter design, air safety and flight research, thermal protection systems and planetary probes, computational fluid dynamics and intelligent systems.

The fourth chapter describes Ames' renaîssance since 1990 in the era of "faster, better, cheaper," and specifically its work in information technology and astrobiology and its relationships with larger communities.

An appendix summarizes the life and work of Joseph Sweetman Ames, for whom the Center is named.

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NASA Ames Research Center
History Archives, Mail Stop 207-1
Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001
Curator: Ames History Archives
NASA Official: Brent Little