Documenting Historic Significance
A few days before Discovery and its seven-member STS-131 crew glided to a safe landing at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility, or SLF, efforts began to record the facility for historical purposes. Kennedy's Center Operations Directorate lead the efforts to properly document and photograph the SLF runway, where NASA's fleet of space shuttles has landed more than 70 times since 1984. The Landing Aids Control Building and Mate-Demate Device also will be recorded. Discovery lands at the SLF

Image: Discovery touches down on the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida completing the 15-day STS-131 mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Rusty Backer

History documentation team

Image: The independent documentation team includes (from left), Architectural Historian Trish Slovinac with Archaeological Consultants Inc., her assistant Nigel Rudolph, and photographer Penny Rogo Bailes. Photo Credit: NASA

According to Barbara Naylor, Kennedy's historic preservation officer, an earlier survey of facilities determined that the SLF, as well as other Kennedy sites, were eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, or NRHP.

"We began this historical recordation process about three years ago," Naylor said. "Kennedy is being proactive in completing the historical documentation on all of the facilities listed and eligible on the NRHP so that this information will be available for the public and completed for NASA to support future projects."

Naylor said the documentation must meet Secretary of the Interior Standards to be accepted into the Library of Congress' Historic American Buildings Survey and Historic American Engineering Record archival collections. Proper documentation includes a written history of the facility, black-and-white large format archival quality photographs, negatives, and as-built drawings or schematics.

The photo effort is completed by using a special camera that takes 4-by-5 film and the prints are processed on archival quality paper that lasts for more than 100 years, Naylor said.

Kennedy's Medical and Environmental Support Contractor, Innovative Health Applications LLC, will manage the effort. Shannah Trout, the cultural resource specialist with IHA, said the company brought in an architectural historian to accompany the independent photographer during the documentation.

"The historian helps to determine the best exterior and interior views, angles, and close-up photos," Trout said. "It's also important to document any special equipment key to the historic significance of the facility."

Kennedy completed the documentation of the crawler-transporter, mobile launcher platform, Launch Pad 39A, Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Control Center, Operations and Checkout Building high bay, Thermal Protection System Facility, and Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility. The Canister Rotation Facility and payload canister also will be completed this year.

Linda Herridge
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center