AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 2 History of Space Science
HAD Special Session, Sunday, 2:00-5:00pm, January 8, 2006, Maryland C

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[2.05] Mapping the Ultraviolet Universe: The Smithsonian's Celescope Payload

D. H. DeVorkin (National Air and Space Museum)

This paper reports on one facet of our overall program to document the transformation of the old ``Astrophysical Observatory" (APO) of the Smithsonian into the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard, in just under six years, from 1955 to 1962. In this interval SAO went from near-death stasis to becoming one of the largest and most non-traditional astronomical institutions in the world. The author has previously examined how Celescope was one of the many agents of institutional growth at SAO. In the present paper, the author will explore the institutional and technical challenges facing Celescope, which was conceived and proposed by SAO as a quick first-look at the ultraviolet sky in 1958, but which grew into a complex battery of telescopes as the OAO program became articulated by NASA into its largest investment in space astronomy in the 1960s.

The author acknowledges primary support from the NSF History and Philosophy Program, administrative support from the American Institute of Physics Center for History of Physics, and documentary assistance from the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

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