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Dr. Goddard Goes to Roswell. And “Female Computers.”

Posted by Laurie Frost on June 9, 2009

Today’s selections are the first of several batches that will give you an idea of what can be found at GRIN, or Great Images at NASA. NASA is a Federal agency, supported by Federal public monies, and thus  images captured by an employee on the job are in the public domain. The NASA Copyright Notification:

Photographs are not protected by copyright unless noted. If copyrighted, permission should be obtained from the copyright owner prior to use. If not copyrighted, photographs may be reproduced and distributed without further permission from NASA. If a recognizable person appears in a photograph, use for commercial purposes may infringe a right of privacy or publicity and permission should be obtained from the recognizable person.

A special consideration is noted as well:

NASA materials may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NASA or by any NASA employee of a commercial product, service or activity, or used in any other manner that might mislead.

This is an easy to use site with the selections categorized in 8 categories with 93 sub-categories (a single image can appear in multiple sub-categories), and there is a search function as well.

On with the show.

If you’ve heard of Roswell, New Mexico, it’s probably as the site where back in 1947 aliens allegedly had a mishap with a flying saucer that was subsequently hushed up the Government. Were these extraterrestrials touring sites of significance in the Earthlings’ brief history of  space exploration and in particular paying their respects to Dr. Robert H. Goddard, an early rocketry pioneer?

Here he is, driving  a Model A Ford truck in the vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico, some time between 1930 and 1932.GPN-2000-001693

And watching launches from the mission control shack.










Next, I could not resist including this 1952 picture simply because the caption seems so odd. The caption:

X-4 program with what Langley engineers euphemistically called “Female Computer” support personnel.

“Euphemistically”? The picture:


The title of the  photo below from March 1964 is “Female Computer.”  The description reads:

Melba Roy heads the group of NASA mathematicians, known as “computers,” who track the Echo satellites. Roy’s computations help produce the orbital element timetables by which millions can view the satellite from Earth as it passes overhead.GPN-2000-001647

 And finally, a non-human, sexless computer from 1949, an “analog computing machine” used in the Engine Research Building at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, Cleveland, Ohio.GPN-2000-000354


NASA Reference Numbers for credits: Goddard 74-H-1210, 74-H-1245,   74-H-1223.
Computers L-74768, 64-H-2487, C1949-24357


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