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Archives of American Aerospace Exploration: Home

This guide includes information about materials in the Archives of American Aerospace Exploration collections at Virginia Tech. It also contains tools and resources for completing historical research.

About the Guide

This guide is designed to help researchers locate resources in Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) relating to the Archives of American Aerospace Exploration (AAAE). This guide does not contain all of the materials in SCUA relating to the AAAE, but it is intended to be a helpful starting point for researchers.

The guide is broken up into sections by topic. Under each topic tab you will find links to relevant books and manuscript collections. The "Online Resources" tab contains links to digitized collections, digital exhibits, media, and search tools for primary sources and keywords.

This guide uses many different source materials from across the archives. If you are interested in learning more about a specific collection or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact a staff member for help or suggestions!

About Special Collections and University Archives

Project Archivist

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Kat Zinn
Special Collections and University Archives, Newman Library
560 Drillfield Dr, Blacksburg, VA 24061

What are the "Archives of American Aerospace Exploration" anyway?

The Archives of American Aerospace Exploration was established as an official collecting area in 1986. AAAE preserves and makes accessible published and unpublished materials that document American aeronautical and space history, as well as related sciences. This includes books and articles, letters, notes, photographs, reminiscences, memorabilia, oral histories, patents, and drawings/schematics. Current holdings compromise more than three dozen collections of papers from pilots, astronauts, physicists, chemists, engineers, NACA and NASA administrators and project managers, writers, illustrators, and researchers in industry and academia. 

To learn more about our other collecting areas, click here.

Locating Materials in SCUA

Manuscript Collections

Finding aids are guides created by Special Collections and University Archives staff to provide information about a manuscript collection and add context to its materials. They usually contain administrative information, biographical information about creators and subjects (when available), a description of the collection, and a list of contents. Our finding aids are available through a portal called Archival Resources of the Virginias (ARVAS). Using this site, you can browse by subject heading or search by keyword by selecting "Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University" as the repository. 

You can also find collection information on ArchivesSpace. Here, you can search by categories such as keyword, title, subject, or identifier number. 


All of our books relating to AAAE can be found using the library's catalog. To find books relating to a specific topic, you can use the keyword form.


For more information about SCUA, you can visit our website.

SCUA has begun digitizing many of our collection materials. You can browse digital collections and exhibits on VT SCUA Online.

Some Selections from our Collections

drawing of the Gemini capsule labeled

Drawing of the Gemini spacecraft capsule from the James Dean Collection

sketches of a single propeller airplane, one from a side view and one from a front 3/4 view

Airplane sketches from the Melvin N. Gough Papers

crowd of people sitting on bleachers in a wind tunnel below a sign that reads

Twelfth Annual Aircraft Engineering Research Conference, Full Scale Wind Tunnel, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, from the Melvin N. Gough Papers

drawing of a missile; Figure 12 change in tail length of lower fin with angle of attack of 1/2 scale model of an NACA configuration for guided missiles. Three fin configuration.

Drawing of a missile design with sweptback wings from the William Hewitt Phillips Papers