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Space Telescope Science Institute records

Identifier: MS-0500

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

These records reflect much of the administrative and scientific activities of the Space Telescope Science Institute, from the early planning stages of the Hubble Space Telescope in the 1960s to the Next Generation (James Webb) Space Telescope in the early 21st century. It includes materials from the Director's Office; materials collected by Daniel Golombek, currently Chief of Staff, in his long tenure with the Institute; files from Rodger Doxsey, Missions Operation Scientist at StScI; scientific materials about the Hubble Space Telescope, its mission and instrumentation; and a large variety of materials collected by the Institute Library. Some financial and contract materials are minimally represented due to the contractual nature of the Institute's funding from NASA and management oversight by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). Some materials are considered closed at this time, including documentation relating to observing proposals.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Friends of the Center for the History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, as well as matching funds from the Space Telescope Science Institute.


  • Creation: 1964-2008


Conditions Governing Access

Requests for access to this collection should be directed to the Space Telescope Science Institute Library,

Conditions Governing Use

Questions about creating copies or otherwise using this collection should be directed to the Space Telescope Science Institute Library,

Institutional History Note

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) was established in 1981 through the combined efforts of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Its original purpose was to be the research institute for the Edwin P. Hubble Space Telescope (HST), launched in a low-earth orbit in April 1990 via the space shuttle Discovery. This marked the first time that NASA entrusted a scientific undertaking to an independent institute. A home for the institute was chosen on the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland after two years of negotiations between NASA and AURA members. Funding is provided contractually through NASA, while management of the institute is overseen by AURA.

STScI worked with NASA and many contractors to design the instruments that formed Hubble's original payload. These consisted of the Wide Field Planetary Camera 1 (WFPC1), Faint Object Spectrometer (FOS), Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS), High Speed Photometer (HSP), and the Faint Object Camera (FOC). The Institute also evaluates observing proposals, schedules observation time, processes and archives the telescope's data for future scientific research, and formulates and provides public outreach activities for HST. The Institute is also the science and operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and data archive for all of NASA's optical/UV missions through the Multimission Archive at Space Telescope (MAST).


141.17 Cubic Feet (112 record center cartons, 3 letter half-size document boxes, 1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches), 1 flat boxes (15.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches))

Language of Materials



The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and for the James Webb Space Telescope.These records reflect much of the administrative and scientific activities of the STScI, from the early planning stages of the Hubble Space Telescope in the 1960s to the Next Generation (James Webb) Space Telescope in the early 21st century.


The series were defined by the actual or perceived office of origin, according to labeling or information on or within the boxes. Materials were listed as they were found, and may overlap other series herein.


Transferred from STSCI in March-October 2008. Series XIV (Rodger Doxsey files) was transferred from STSCI in May 2022.


Items removed from the collection include: Personal materials, employee reviews, resumes, Human Resources items of a personal or individual nature pertaining to job performance, hiring, separation, disputes, etc.; Financial and contractual reporting documents marked as private and confidential; Unreadable digital materials, including backup tapes returned to STScI; unreadable 5.25-inch or 3.5-inch floppy diskettes; Personal records of Director Steven Beckwith that predated his tenure at STScI.

Related Material

JHU Archives, Collection #7, Hubble Space Telescope Collection, 1962-1991, records compiled by Robert W. Smith.

MS 402, William G. Fastie Papers, 1937-1997

Arthur Davidson papers (unprocessed)

Appendix A: Acronyms

The following is a partial listing of the acronyms found in the Finding Aid and Records of the Space Telescope Science Institute. See additional acronym lists found in the collection in Box 59.


Assembly and Verification
Academic Affairs Division
American Astronomical Society
Advanced Camera
Advanced Camera for Surveys
Astrophysics Data System
Astrometry and Engineering Data Processing system
Announcement of Opportunity
Astronomy Information Service
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.
Back-end Redesign for Added Value for Observers
Control & Data Handling
Complaints and Restrictions
Calibration Pipeline Software for ACS
Committee for AURA Management Assessment
Complaints and Restrictions Document
Charge Coupled Device
Calibration Data Base Software (or System)
Configuration Management and Quality Assurance Branch
Configuration Management Requirements
<abbr>COB </abbr>
Computer Operations Branch
Cosmic Origins Spectrograph
Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement
Computer Sciences Corporation
Data Archive and Distribution Service
Data Capture Facility
Director's Discretionary Research Fund
Director's Leadership Forum
Data Management Facility
Data Management Subsystem
Director's Office
Data Requirements Document
Data Systems Division
Data System Operations Branch
European Coordinating Facility
Electrical Ground Support Equipment
Educational and Public Affairs Office
Early Release Observations
European Space Agency
Engineering Support Branch
European Southern Observatory
Engineering and Software Services
Electrical Support Test Equipment
Extra Vehicular Activities
Fine Guidance System or Fine Guidance Sensor
Fixed-Head Star Tracker/Rate Sensing Unit
Flexible Image Transport System
Faint Object Camera
Faint Object Spectrograph
Full Time Equivalent
GSSS Archive Support Project
GSSS Astrometric Support Program
Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph
Grants Management System
General Observer
Guide Star Catalog
Goddard Space Flight Center
Guide Star Selection System
Guide Star Selection System Specification
Ground Systems Test
Guaranteed Time Observation/Observer
Hubble Deep Field
Hubble Fellow
Hubble Legacy Archive
HST Observation Problem Report
Huntsville Operations Support Center
High Resolution Spectrograph
High Speed Photometer
Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope Anomaly Report
Interface Control Document
Image Display Interfaces
Instrument Development Team
Image-Dissector Tubes
Interactive Graphics Interpreter
Interim Institute Visiting Committee
Instruments Department
Image Reduction and Analysis Facility
Information Systems Development Branch
Instrument Science Report
Institute Visiting Committee
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Job Summary Report
James Webb Space Telescope
Low Ionization Nuclear Emission-line Regions
Lockheed Missile and Space Company
Multi-Anode Microchannel Array
Multimission Archive at Space Telescope
Mechanical Ground Support Equipment
Mission Operations Contractor
Mission Operations Ground System
Mission Operations, Systems Engineering, and Software
Marshall Space Flight Center
Mechanical Support Test Equipment
National Aeronautics Space Administration
NASA Equipment Management System
Next Generation Space Telescope
Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer
National Optical Astronomy Observatories
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
NASA Standard Spacecraft Computer, model 1
Organization Breakdown Structure
Optical Control System
Operations and Data Management Department
Operations Project Office
Operations Division
Operations Support System
Orbital Status Display Board
Observatory Support Group
Observation Support System
OSS Enhancement Turnover Test
Optical Telescope Assembly
Orbital Verification
POCC Application Software Support
Pointing Control System
Photon Detector Assembly
Project Data Base
Proposal Entry Processor
Payload Operations Control Center
Post Observation Data Processing System
Program Operating Plan
Preliminary Operations Requirements and Test Support
Project to Re-Engineer Space Telescope Observing
Research Assistant
Review Item Discrepancy
Remote Interface Units
root mean square
Remote Proposal Submission System
Research Support Advisory Committee
Research Support Branch
Routine Science Data Processing
Research Support and Laboratories Branch
Reaction Wheel Assembly
South Atlantic Anomaly
Solar Array Drive Electronics
System Audit and Design Review
Science Assessment Observations
Small Business & Small Disadvantaged Businesses
Science Computing and Research Support Division
STScI Facility
Standard Calibration Sources
Science Data Analysis Software Functional Specification
Science and Engineering Systems Division
Science Instrument
Science Instruments Branch
Space Infra-Red Telescope Facility
Servicing Mission Observatory Verification
Science Mission Specification
Science Operations Branch
Science Operations Ground System
Statement of Work
Science Programs Branch or Science Planning Branch
Science Programs Division
Software Problem Reports
Science Program Selection Office
Science Planning and Scheduling System
Software Requirements Document
Support Software
Science Software Branch
Science Support Division
Science Software Group
Space Telescope Science Institute
Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility
Space Telescope Advisory Committee
Space Telescope Institute Council
Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph
Space Telescope Operations Control Center
Space Telescope Observatory Management System
Space Telescope Observatory Performance and Assessment Team
Space Telescope Project - Goddard
Space Telescope Science Data Analysis System
Space Telescope Science & Operations Project
Space Telescope Users Committee
Science Verification
Science Working Group
synthetic photometry (package for STSDAS that runs with IRAF)
Target Acquisition
Telescope Allocation Committee
Time Allocation Committee
TAC Operations Support (part of PEP)
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System
Telescope and Instruments Branch
Telescope and Instruments Performance Summary
Telescope Systems
Telescope Time Review Board
United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope
User Support Branch
Work Breakdown Structure
Wide-Field and Planetary Camera
Wide Field Camera

Processing Information

Some duplicate materials were removed. Material in binders was foldered and labeled with binder information. Metal clips were removed. Some materials were photocopied, if possible, from overhead transparencies, blueprints, colored paper, damaged paper, yellowing paper.

Guide to the Space Telescope Science Institute records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
This project was made possible by a grant from the Friends of the Center for the History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, as well as matching funds from the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA