Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Robert W. Jackson Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1964-1999
Collection number: PP03.02
Jackson, Robert W. (Robert William)
1.4 cubic feet
NASA Ames Research Center
Ames History Office
Moffett Field, California 94035
Abstract: This collection consists of materials that document four NASA space
programs during the years 1967 to 1988: Biosatellite, Magellan, Pioneer and Voyager. The
materials were collected by Robert W. Jackson, who served as Recovery Controller for the
Biosatellite program and as Flight Director for the Pioneer spacecraft.
Physical location: NASA Ames History Office, NASA Ames Research Center
Language: All material is in English.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright does not apply to United States government records. For non-governmental
material, researcher must contact origical creator.
NASA Ames History Office, NASA Ames Research Center. Moffett Field, California. PP03.02, Robert W. Jackson Collection, 1964-1999,
[Container number] : [Folder number]. [Identification of item]. [Date, if available].
Donated by Robert W. Jackson in January 2004.
Robert William Jackson was born March 31, 1937 in Yonkers, New York. He earned a BS in
Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959. After
working for the Boeing Company, he received an MS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from
Stanford University in 1963. He joined the NASA Ames Research Center in 1963.
At NASA Ames, Mr. Jackson provided Mission Analysis and Study Management for numerous
scientific space project studies including: Earth Orbiting and Reentry Satellites; Free
Flying and Space Station attached telescopes; Earth Escape Missions; Planetary Orbiters for
Venus, Moon, and Mars; and Entry Probe and Lander Missions to Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and
Mr. Jackson performed recovery planning for the Earth Orbiting Biosatellite flights in the
late 1960s and served as Recovery Controller during the flights. During the 1980s, he served
as Flight Director for the Pioneer Venus Orbiter spacecraft, including the periods when the
spacecraft was used as a remote observatory for Comets. He also simultaneously served as
Flight Director for the six older Interplanetary Pioneer spacecraft.
Mr. Jackson was responsible for operations planning for the Space Station-based Biological
Research Project and managed preparations for the first item of NASA Ames hardware to be
operated in the Station, a Passive Dosimeter system.
He has received numerous NASA awards including an Exceptional Service Medal for Pioneer
Mr. Jackson served as Chief of the Spacecraft Operations Branch in 1992 until his
retirement from NASA in August 2001.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Robert W. Jackson Collection (1.67 linear feet) is composed of journal articles,
photographs, monographs and other publications, and reports that cover four NASA space
missions: Biosatellite, Magellan, Pioneer, and Voyager.
The collection is organized into four series based on these space missions.
The first series, Biosatellite, contains clippings and publications about the Biosatellite
Project. The three Biosatellites were earth-orbiting biological satellites that were
designed to return their experiments to the ground for analysis at the conclusion of their
flights. Their combined mission was to study the effects on living organisms of
weightlessness, radiation, weightlessness combined with radiation, and the absences of the
effects of the earth's rotation, such as the removal of the normal 24 hours day-night cycle.
The second series, Magellan, contains primarily journal articles about the Magellan
Mission. Magellan was launched in 1989, arrived at Venus in and went into orbit around the
planet in 1990, gathering radar images of its surface, data on its gravity field, and
gathering data on its geologic structure. The mission was terminated in October 1994 when
the Magellan spacecraft was sent into the atmosphere of Venus where it was destroyed,
marking the first time an operating planetary spacecraft was intentionally crashed.
The third series, Pioneer, represents the majority of the collection. It contains
clippings, images, journal issues, publications and reports on the Pioneer Missions 6-13.
The Pioneer Missions were designed to study the sun's environment and the planets in the
solar system, performing first of their kind explorations of the sun, Jupiter, Saturn and
The most significant of these spacecraft were Pioneer 10 and 11, the first spacecraft to
explore Jupiter and Saturn, and the first spacecraft to exit the solar system. Pioneer 10's
mission ended in 1997 and the spacecraft has continued to explore the solar system when its
last contact with Earth was made in 2003. Pioneer 11's mission ended in 1995 when its
instruments had no power to make scientific observations. Both Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11
carry a gold anodized plaque bolted to the spacecraft’s main frame that contains a graphic
message of Earth and its human inhabitants, in the event that the spacecraft are intercepted
by other intelligence.
The fourth and final series in the collection, Voyager, contains images and a publication
about the Voyager Mission. The Voyager Interstellar Mission was a two-spacecraft mission to
the outer planets of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune that was launched in 1977. Voyager
2's mission is now known as Voyager Interstellar Mission as it heads out of the solar system
at a rate of about 290 million miles a year.
The following terms may be used to index this collection.
Jackson, Robert W.
Pioneer (Space Probes)
Moffett Field (Calif.)
Ames Research Center
All NASA Special Publications (NASA SP) have been removed from the collection and placed
with the Ames History Office Reference Collection.