Purpose of the Apollo 15 Learning Hub
During the period 1969-1972, six human expeditions explored the Earth’s Moon during the Apollo Program. The purpose of the Apollo 15 Learning Hub is to assemble, preserve, and make available primary source records of Apollo for research, education, history, and as an example of a unique human endeavor. Sources of accurate information are essential to ensure the Apollo event remains as clearly defined and thoroughly recorded as possible. The Apollo 15 Hub is being constructed to create a unique digital “learning hub” for education and research on aspects of the Apollo program of human exploration of the Moon. The Hub will offer access to a digital archive of Apollo 15 onboard materials, an interactive 3D model of the Lunar Module, as well as links to reliable primary sources of Apollo history.
A Deep View of one Lunar Mission through Primary Sources
Apollo 15 was the first extended scientific exploration of the moon. Apollo 15 was also an historical event, located in a particular social, historical, and technological context.
The Hub is unique in offering digitized content from the archival collection of Apollo 15 Commander David R. Scott, available here for the first time. The primary Digital Archive is the complete Apollo 15 Flight Data File (FDF) from David R. Scott’s personal collection. The Apollo 15 FDF is composed of all of the official Flight Plan, checklists, cue cards, maps, and star charts carried aboard Apollo 15, over 50 items total, comprising hundreds (>500) of pages. The significance of the FDF documents as flown is that many handwritten notes were made by the crew during the mission and never recorded elsewhere. Therefore, the only sources as of this information are the as-flown FDF documents.
We also link to other primary source material in order to offer an expansive view of the Apollo 15 mission, and we offer unique educational experiences through the use of two platforms.
Educational interactive platforms
Educational Portal and Flight Path
- The Apollo 15 Hub is an educational portal to guide users through the Apollo 15 primary sources beginning with the flight path.
- Readux, an open source software platform developed at Emory University, hosts a collection of the Apollo 15 Flight Data Files, provided for digitization by Col. David Scott of the Apollo 15 mission. Readux offers a web-based space to engage with digitized print materials. Using the Readux application, the Flight Data Files from the Apollo 15 mission can be explored, and original notes by astronaut Commander David Scott can be examined. The Readux collection is comprised of the Flight Data File (FDF) and the Lunar Module Cue Cards that were used by Commander David Scott during the Apollo 15 lunar mission that took place between July 26 and August 7, 1971. The complete FDF is composed of all of the official Flight Plan, checklists, cue cards, maps, and star charts carried aboard Apollo 15, and features handwritten notes made by the crew during the mission.
LM 3-D model
- A 3-D interactive model of the Lunar Module (created by ECDS in the platform Unity to be hosted on the Omeka site) will allow users to get a better embodied sense of the LM and how the cue cards and technology worked in the small space.
- An Omeka based repository will host Apollo 15 media sources, including images, documents, audio, and video.
A Broad View of the Early Astronaut Era through Primary Sources from one Astronaut Family
The Apollo 15 mission is the beginning of the Learning Hub story into the historical era of the early astronauts (1961-1972). Going forward, the A15 Learning Hub will expand the story through further archival material from David R. Scott, related to his other NASA missions, which were critical to the NASA Apollo story.
Our longer-term plans include a companion website focused on the history of one early astronaut family. We will tell the story of the David R. Scott family through the archives of Anne Lurton Scott (first wife) and Tracy L. Scott (daughter). The history of the early astronaut families offers a window into broader cultural and social contexts of the time.
Find out more about Tracy L. Scott's research project, Moon Shot Astronauts / Their Families: Exploring Image vs Reality in the Early Space Era, on her project blog https://tracylscott.org/.
Introduction to Historical Evidence: Primary vs Secondary Sources
We intentionally focus on providing primary sources to take you closer to the actual event in its own time. We want to take you back to the original historical, technological, and social context. This is important. History is often about interpretation. We want to provide sources that are as close to the original event as possible.
“Historians make distinctions between what they call primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources are firsthand accounts of events, recorded or produced by witnesses or recorders who were present at the time of the event or experienced the conditions being documented. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original, microfilm/microfiche, digital format, or published format. Historians carefully read and evaluate primary sources to make decisions about how and why things happened as they did.”
“A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event or phenomenon. It is generally at least one-step removed from the event. Examples include scholarly or popular books and articles, reference books, and textbooks.”
From Emory Libraries, United States History Research Guide (Sep 26, 2020): https://guides.libraries.emory.edu/c.php?g=50312&p=324806
We expand the definitions above to differentiate between two different types of primary sources, in addition to secondary sources. Here are the full definitions that we use to categorize the Apollo 15 Learning Hub source materials (Exhibits):
- Original primary source material: original (“untouched”) photo, video, audio, and/or text of an historical event, “recorded or produced by participants, witnesses, or recorders who were present at the time of the event or experienced the conditions being documented.” Examples include the Apollo 15 Flight Data Files and original audio of the Apollo mission.
- Annotated primary source material: original primary source that has been annotated, enhanced, or revised in some way by a person other than the originating participant, witness or recorder. Examples could include video of a lunar mission that has been digitally enhanced so that it appears differently than it would have to someone who viewed televised images of the lunar mission during the original historical time period. This could also include transcripts of audio tapes of an Apollo mission that have been annotated with memories of individuals who were not direct participants in the event.
- Secondary source material: “a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event.”
Scott Family Papers
If you are on Emory Campus, you can also visit Rose Library to access the Scott Family Papers, 1962-2019 [bulk: 1962-1972].
Tracy L. Scott, Ph.D. (Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Emory University)
Col. David R. Scott
Emory Center for Digital Scholarship Project Team
Joanna Mundy, Ph.D.
Arya Basu, Ph.D.
Steve Bransford, Ph.D.
Sarah "Sadie" Warren
2022-2023 Diana Duarte Salinas, David R. Scott Graduate Assistant
2021-2022 Jonathan C. Groce, David R. Scott Fellow
2020-2021 Dimitri Zaras, David R. Scott Fellow
2019-2020 Sarah "Sadie" Warren, David R. Scott Fellow
2019-2020 Ellie Coe, Emory University SIRE Student
Past Project Team Members
2018-2019 Anandi Knuppel, Ph.D.
2018-2019 Karen McCarthy
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.