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The NASA Headquarters (HQ) Library specializes in policy, history, and management of NASA with significant holdings in outreach and education. Our hardcopy collection is available on-site to the public, NASA civil servants and NASA contractors.

NASA HQ civil servants and HQ contractors are eligible to register as library patrons with borrowing privileges and encouraged to visit the library in person or to contact the library by phone or email. Members of the public can visit the library.

NASA Resources

NASA Aeronautics Books – These books are produced by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.

NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Virtual Library – The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is a Digital Library portal for researchers in Astronomy and Physics, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant.

NASA e-Books – Links to the Aeronautics and History collections, plus smaller collections.

NASA History Series Publications – The NASA History Office continues to release its works in a variety of formats. You can get a complete view of the agency’s publications by visiting their page and combing through these titles.

NASA Galaxie – The common library catalogue for NASA. *Limited to NASA HQ employees.

NASA Technical Report Server – NASA has a statutory duty to make its findings known to the public. To help fulfill that duty, it has established the NASA Technical Report Server, so that NASA’s papers and reports can be downloaded at no charge.

General Resources

Google Books – Scanned out-of-copyright books, particularly useful for discovering the history of flight and space.

Internet Archive – Scanned out-of-copyright books, particularly useful for discovering the history of flight and space.

National Academies Press – The National Academies are a private body, chartered by Abraham Lincoln, to provide the government with scientific advice. Their reports and papers are generally free.

Recently Added Materials

  • 50 Years of Solar System Exploration: Historical Perspectives. Billings, Linda (ed.) National Aeronautics and Space Administration SP-2021-4705. Washington, DC: NASA, Office of Communications, NASA History Division, 2021.
    Summary – These papers provide a richly textured picture of important developments – and some colorful characters – in a half century of solar system exploration. Readers will find in this volume a collection of interesting stories about money, politics, human resources, commitment, competition and cooperation, and the “faster, better, cheaper” era of solar system exploration.
    TL 788.5 .S625 2021 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • A History of Near-Earth Objects Research. Conway, Erik M., Donald K. Yeomans and Meg Rosenburg. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. SP-2022-4235. Washington, DC: NASA, Office of Communications, History Division, 2022.
    Summary – The creation of the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office in 2016 reflected a growing interest in, and concern about, the threat of celestial impacts. While seen in ancient times as omens of dread, in modern times, they’ve come to be seen as the solar system’s rubble, leftovers from its formation largely ignored until the late 20th century. Seen by scientists as objects worthy of study, by the public and the U.S. government, they are viewed as potential threats contrary to the belief of future resources by space advocates.
    QB 651 .C66 2022 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • A Long Voyage to the Moon: The Life of Naval Aviator and Apollo 17 Astronaut Ron Evans. Bowman, Geoffrey. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2021.
    Summary – As command module pilot of Apollo 17, the last crewed flight to the moon, Ron Evans combined precision flying and painstaking geological observation with moments of delight and enthusiasm. This biography covers his life from 1933 in St. Francis, Kansas, through his combat career in Vietnam and NASA career.
    TL 789.85 .E93 B69 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • A Quantum Life: My Unlikely Journey From the Street to the Stars. Oluseyi, Hakeem M. (Hakeem Muata). New York: Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC., 2021.
    Summary – This memoir of the renowned astrophysicist tells the story of how he overcame his personal demons, including an impoverished childhood and life of crime as well as an addiction to crack cocaine and entrenched racism.
    QB 460.72 .O48 A3 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • Aerospace Failure Data Handbook: A Reference Guide to Understanding and Assessing Risk and Reliability of Aerospace Systems and Spacecraft Designs. Fragola, Joseph R., D.Sc., P.E. (ed.). [United States]: Valador, Inc., 2010.
    Summary – This data book is a tool for use in quantitative risk assessment of space projects with application to the development of Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) of detailed designs of manufactured space launch vehicles built and manufactured by the United States, Russia/Former Soviet Union, Brazil, China, Europe, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
    TL 867 .F73 2010 BOOKSTACKS
  • Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space. Hand, Kevin Peter. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2020.
    Summary – Where is the best place to find life beyond Earth? The answer may lie on the water-rich moons at the outer reaches of the solar system. Beneath the frozen crusts of several of the small ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn lurk vast oceans that may have been in existence for as long as Earth, and together may contain more than fifty times its total volume of liquid water. Could there be organisms living in their depths?
    QB 54 .H36 2020 BOOKSTACKS
  • Apollo’s Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landing. Launius, Roger D. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2019.
    Summary – This book explores the many-faceted stories told about the meaning of the Apollo program and how it altered American society. The author offers unique insight into its legacy as seen through multiple perspectives. He surveys a wide range of viewpoints and narratives, both positive and negative, surrounding the program.
    TL 789.8 .U6 L27 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • Beyond Tube-and-Wing: The X-48 Blended Wing-Body and NASA’s Quest to Reshape Future Transport Aircraft. Larrimer, Bruce I. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. SP-2020-644. Washington, DC: NASA, 2020.
    Summary – This book details the remarkable efforts to develop a new aircraft configuration known as the Blended Wing-Body (BWB).
    TL 567 .R47 L25 2020 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • Catching Stardust: Comets, Asteroids and the Birth of the Solar System. Starkey, Natalie. London: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2018.
    Summary – Comets and asteroids are among the Solar System’s very oldest inhabitants. This book tells the story of these enigmatic celestial objects, revealing how scientists are using them to help understand a crucial time in our history–the birth of the Solar System, and everything contained in it.
    QB 503 .S73 2018 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Consequential Frontier, Challenging the Privatization of Space. Ward, Peter. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2019.
    Summary – With the era of NASA’s dominance now behind us, the private sector is winning this new space race. But if humans and their private wealth have made such a mess of Earth, who can say we won’t do the same in space? The author raises this vital question before it’s too late.
    HD 9711.75 .A2 W37 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight. Teitel, Amy Shira. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2021.
    Summary – The mostly unknown tale of Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb–two accomplished aviatrixes, one generation apart, who each dreamed of being the first woman in space, but along the way battled their egos, their expectations, and ultimately the patriarchal society that stood between them and the stars.
    TL 539 .T35 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • Floating in Darkness: A Journey of Evolution. Garan, Ron, Jr. [United States]: New Epoch Publishing, 2021.
    Summary – Autobiography about Ron Garan’s experiences as a NASA astronaut and United States Air Force combat fighter pilot time in the air and in space. In Floating in Darkness, Garan shares his thoughts about humanity’s evolution process and unprecedented crisis that threatens all life on Earth from greed and power.
    TL 789.85 .G37 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space. Young, John W. with James R. Hansen. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012.
    Summary – Enthusiasts of space exploration have long waited for John Young to tell the story of his two Gemini flights, his two Apollo missions, the first-ever Space Shuttle flight, and the first Spacelab mission. Forever Young delivers all that and more: Young’s personal journey from engineering graduate to fighter pilot, to test pilot, to astronaut, to high NASA official, to clear-headed predictor of the fate of Planet Earth.
    TL 789.85 .Y68 A3 2012 BOOKSTACKS
  • From Cave Man to Cave Martian: Living in Caves on the Earth, Moon and Mars. von Ehrenfried, Manfred ”Dutch.” Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG: Published in Association with Praxis Publishing, 2019.
    Summary – This book explores the practicality of using the existing subsurface geology on the Moon and Mars for protection against radiation, thermal extremes, micrometeorites and dust storms rather than building surface habitats at great expense at least for those first few missions.
    QB 643 .G46 .E37 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of Harvard Observatory Took the Measures of the Stars. Sobel, Dava. New York, NY: Viking, 2016.
    Summary – Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of the women whose contributions to the burgeoning field of astronomy forever changed our understanding of the stars and our place in the universe.
    QB 34.5 .S63 2016 BOOKSTACKS
  • Go for Orbit: One of America’s First Women Astronauts Finds Her Space. Seddon, Rhea. Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Your Space Press, 2015.
    Summary – From small-town southern girl to space traveler, Rhea Seddon experienced a life that was on a trajectory of its own from an early age. A woman of many firsts, Rhea’s compelling story of achieving the American Dream carries a universal message to all those overcoming obstacles of all is possible.
    TL 789.85 .S45 S43 2015 BOOKSTACKS
  • Gravity Well, The: America’s Next, Greatest Mission. Sandford, Stephen. Pacific Grove, CA: Gavia Books, 2016.
    Summary – The region beyond Earth is a steep, rugged terrain filled with challenges and vast wealth. As with the New World a few centuries ago, government is establishing a foothold in this frontier and building bases.
    Creative entrepreneurs are following. Within a generation, this frontier can sustain an economy–mining, manufacturing, science, technology that rivals the one back on this planet. This book reveals the urgency of a national space effort that revives not just the economy but the American Dream.
  • Green Light for Green Flight: NASA’s Contributions to Environmentally Responsible Aviation. Merlin, Peter W. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. SP-2020-646. Washington, DC: NASA, 2020.
    Summary – NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project began in 2009 to explore and document the feasibility, benefits and technical risks of advanced vehicle concepts and enabling technologies for reducing aviation’s overall impact on the environment. Goals included reducing community noise footprints, fuel burn, and nitrogen oxide emissions. This book reviews the advanced aircraft design concepts, construction technologies, and propulsion advancements that were researched by the ERA project.
    TD 195 .A27 M47 2020 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut’s Story of Invention. Sullivan, Kathryn. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2019.
    Summary – The first American woman to walk in space recounts her experience as part of the team that launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained the Hubble Space Telescope.
    TL 789.85 .S85 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Impact of Lunar Dust on Human Exploration. Levine, Joel S., (ed.). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021.
    Summary – When the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the Moon, they found that the surface of the Moon was covered with several inches of very fine, tiny particles composed of sharp, glassy material. The lunar dust stuck to everything it encountered, revealed itself to be highly abrasive to seals, and readily inhaled by astronauts. With humans planning a return to the Moon in the Artemis Program, this book acts as a critical review what we know about lunar dust, its structure and chemical composition, its impact on human health, and how to reduce/mitigate its effects on future human exploration.
    QB 592 .I46 2020 BOOKSTACKS
  • Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos. Atkinson, Nancy. Salem, MA: Page Street Publishing Co., 2016.
    Summary – Space journalist Nancy Atkinson shares compelling insights from over 35 NASA scientists and engineers, taking readers behind the scenes of the unmanned missions that are transforming our understanding of the solar system and beyond. This book chronicles the struggles and triumphs of nine current space missions and captures the true spirit of exploration and discovery.
    TL 709 .I43 2016 BOOKSTACKS
  • Infrared Astronomy – Seeing the Heat: From William Herschel to the Herschel Space Observatory. Clements, David L. Imperial College London, U.K., 2015.
    Summary – This book explores the work in astronomy that relies on observations in the infrared. Author David L. Clements, a distinguished academic and science fiction writer, delves into how the universe works, from the planets in our own Solar System and beyond.
    QB 470 .C54 2015 BOOKSTACKS
  • John Houbolt: The Unsung Hero of the Apollo Moon Landings. Causey, William F. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2020.
    Summary – A small group of engineers led by John C. Houbolt who came up with the plan that propelled human beings to the moon and back-not only safely, but faster, cheaper, and more reliably. Houbolt and his colleagues called it “lunar orbit rendezvous,” or “LOR.” At first the LOR idea was ignored, then criticized, and finally dismissed by many senior NASA officials. Nevertheless, the group, under Houbolt’s leadership, continued to press the LOR idea, arguing that it was the only way to get men to the moon and back by President Kennedy’s deadline. Houbolt persisted, risking his career in the face of overwhelming opposition. This is the story of how John Houbolt convinced NASA to adopt the plan that made history.
    TL 789.85 .H68 C38 2020 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Juno Mission. Bolton, Scott (ed.). New York, NY: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2018.
    Summary – A collection of papers originally appearing in the journal Space Science Reviews, vol. 213, issues, 1-4, 2017 covering the mission plan, the science and the instrumentation of Juno.
    QB 661 .J85 2018 BOOKSTACKS
  • Life in Space: NASA Life Sciences Research During the Late Twentieth Century. Mackowski, Maura Phillips. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2022.
    Summary – This book explores the many aspects and outcomes of NASA’s research in life sciences, a little-understood endeavor that has often been overlooked in histories of the space agency.
    QH 327 .M33 2022 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Light of Earth: Reflections on a Life in Space. Worden, Al and Francis French. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2021.
    Summary – Coauthored with spaceflight historian Francis French, “The Light of Earth” is Al Worden’s wide-ranging look at the greatest-ever scientific undertaking, in which he was privileged to be a leading participant.
    TL 789.85 .W67 A3 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Ross-Nazal, Jennifer (ed.). College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2022.
    Summary – Making Space for Women offers a unique view of the history of human spaceflight while also providing a broader understanding of changes in American culture, society, industry, and life for women in the space program. The women featured in this book demonstrate that there are no boundaries or limits to a career at NASA for those who choose to seize the opportunity.
    Q 141 .M242 2022 BOOKSTACKS
  • Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy, and the New Battleground of the Cold War. Shesol, Jeff. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2021.
    Summary – A riveting history of the momentous Friendship 7 space flight that put America back into the space race. The race to the heavens seemed a race for survival-and America was losing. When John Glenn blasted into orbit on February 20, 1962, his mission was greater than circling Earth; it was to calm the fears of the free world and renew America’s sense of self-belief.
    TL 789.8 .U6 M4766 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Missing Links, Launching a High Performing Company Culture. Meade, Phillip. New York, NY: Leaders Press, 2021.
    Summary – In 2003, the Columbia Space Shuttle exploded on re-entry, resulting in the loss of life for all seven astronauts, and leaving NASA with a huge problem. But this problem wasn’t easily identified–the investigation revealed that the organizational culture was as much to blame for the explosion as technical difficulties. The co-authors apply their vast expertise to map out ”The Missing Links” between human nature and organizational culture. Readers will discover how their work at the Kennedy Space Center helped create their model and how it has been applied to numerous organizations across industries.
    HD 58.7 .M42 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • NASA and the Long Civil Rights Movement. Odom, Brian C. and Stephen P. Waring (eds.). 2019. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2019.
    Summary – As NASA prepared for the launch of Apollo 11 in July 1969, many African American leaders protested the billions of dollars used to fund “space joyrides” rather than help tackle poverty, inequality, and discrimination at home. This volume examines such tensions as well as the ways in which NASA’s goal of space exploration aligned with the cause of racial equality.
    TL 521.312 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • Planetary Protection Classification of Sample Return Missions from the Martian Moons. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Science Foundation. Washington, DC: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the European Science Foundation, 2019.
    Summary – This report reviews recent theoretical, experimental, and modeling research on the environments and physical conditions encountered by Mars ejecta during certain processes. It recommends whether missions returning samples from Phobos and/or Deimos should be classified as “restricted” or “unrestricted” Earth return in the framework of the planetary protection policy maintained by COSPAR.
    QB 641 .P53 2019 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • Promise Denied: NASA’s X-34 and the Quest for Cheap, Reusable Access to Space. Larrimer, Bruce I. SP-2020-645. Washington, DC: NASA, 2019.
    Summary – This study examines the background, origins, and development of the NASA-Orbital Sciences X-34, a proposed hypersonic demonstrator that could lead to a fully reusable and cost-effective logistical space transportation system. The study examines space policy, engineering decision-making, and the space-access needs of the United States. It is of particular value as a ‘lessons learned’ examination of a key program which, though never flown, was both far-seeing and influential.
    TL 567 .R47 L26 2019 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • Review and Assessment of Planetary Protection Policy Development Processes. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2018.
    Summary – This report examines the history of planetary protection policy, assesses the current policy development process, and recommends actions to improve the policy development process in the future.
    TL 943 .R48 2019 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online
  • Shattered Dreams: The Lost and Canceled Space Missions. Burgess, Colin. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019.
    Summary – Shattered Dreams recounts the personal stories and recollections of several men and women who were in line to fly a specific or future spaceflight mission but lost that opportunity due to personal reasons, mission cancellations, or even tragedies.
    TL 789.85 .A1 B866 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • Shoot For the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11. Donovan, Jim. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2019.
    Summary – On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. One of the world’s greatest technological achievements, the Apollo 11 mission was a mammoth undertaking involving more than 410,000 men and women dedicated to winning the space race against the Soviets. Donovan provides a gripping account of the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that came before it.
    TL 789.8 .U6 A5325 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – Or Hurt – How You Lead. Goman, Carol Kinsey. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011.
    Summary – In The Silent Language of Leadership, Carol Kinsey Goman explains that personal space, physical gestures, posture, facial expressions, and eye contact communicate louder than words and, thus, can be used strategically to help leaders manage, motivate, lead global teams, and communicate clearly in the digital age.
    BF 637.N66 G664 2011 BOOKSTACKS
  • Space Ethics. Green, Brian Patrick. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.
    Summary – This book provides the first comprehensive introduction to ethics as it applies to space exploration and use. It examines real-world case studies that exemplify the ethical challenges we face in exploring beyond Earth: space debris, militarization in space, hazardous asteroids, planetary protection, the search for extraterrestrial life, commercial and private sector activities in space, space settlements, very long duration missions, and planetary-scale interventions.
    BJ 60 .G74 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • Space is Open for Business: The Industry That Can Transform Humanity. Jacobson, Robert C. Los Angeles, California: Robert C. Jacobson, 2020.
    Summary – Space Is Open for Business is an outstanding guidebook for the ultimate space-enabled business plan. Meticulously researched and edited for the most time-challenged reader, Space Is Open for Business provides a framework for those outside of the industry to understand the critical context that led to the commercial movement known as NewSpace.
    BJ 60 .G74 2021 BOOKSTACKS
  • Space Science and the Arab World: Astronauts, Observatories and Nationalism in the Middle East. Determann, Jörg Matthias. London; New York: I.B. Tauris, 2018.
    Summary – This book identifies the individuals, institutions and national ideologies that enabled Arab astronomers and researchers to gain support for space exploration when Middle East governments lacked interest. Jorg Matthias Determann shows that the conquest of space became associated with national prestige, security, economic growth and the idea of an `Arab renaissance’ more generally.
    QB 500.266 .M628 D48 2018 BOOKSTACKS
  • The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA’s Visionary Leader George M. Low. Jurek, Richard. Outward Odyssey, A People’s History of Spaceflight Series. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019.
    Summary – George M. Low was a visionary architect and leader from the agency’s inception in 1958 to his retirement in 1976. As chief of manned spaceflight at NASA, Low was instrumental in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs and led the redesign of the Apollo spacecraft following the Apollo 1 fire. Under Low there were five manned missions, including Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing. He negotiated the ASTP program and was one of the leading figures in the development of the space shuttle in the early 1970s.
    TL 789.85 .L69 2019 BOOKSTACKS
  • We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program. Paul, Richard. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.
    Summary – The Space Age began just as the struggle for civil rights forced Americans to confront the bitter legacy of slavery, discrimination, and violence against African Americans. NASA itself became an agent of social change, with President Kennedy opening its workplaces to African Americans. In We Could Not Fail, Richard Paul and Steven Moss profile ten pioneer African American space workers whose stories illustrate the role NASA and the space program played in promoting civil rights.
    TL 521.312 .P394 2015 BOOKSTACKS
  • Wind and Beyond, The: A Documentary Journey into the History of Aerodynamics in America: v. 3: Other Paths, Other Flyways. Hansen, James R. and Jeremy R. Kinney (eds.). SP 2021-4409. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA History Office, Office of External Relations, 2021.
    Summary – The airplane ranks as one of history’s most ingenious and phenomenal inventions. It has surely been one of the most world changing. How ideas about aerodynamics first came together and how the science and technology evolved to forge the airplane into the revolutionary machine that it became is the epic story told in this multivolume work, The Wind and Beyond: A Documentary Journey into the History of Aerodynamics in America. Following up on the first volume’s account of the invention of the airplane and creation of the aeronautical research establishment in the United States and the second’s depiction of the airplane design revolution of the 1920s and 1930s and the quest for improved airfoils, this volume explores the aerodynamics of airships, flying boats, and rotary-wing aircraft.
    TL 570 .W64 V.3 2021 BOOKSTACKS
    Available online


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