John C. Houbolt: The Man Behind the Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous

On May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy called for the nation to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 successfully landed on the surface of the moon, and 6 hours after landing Commander Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface. This July 20th will mark the 50th anniversary of that historic event, and in honor of that day, a University of Illinois Archives exhibit calls attention to alumnus John C. Houbolt (B.S. 1940, M.S. 1942). For without his work and advocacy, the brave Apollo 11 astronauts would never have made it home.

Houbolt was a NASA aerospace engineer from Joliet, Illinois who developed the unpopular idea that to land a man on the moon and return safely, the only way was to use his concept of Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous (LOR) and a lunar landing module. At the time the prevailing ideas for landing on the moon were Direct Descent or Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous. Neither of which would be cost-effective or feasible. The Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous eventually became the ideal and safest way to accomplish a moon landing.

There are always scientists and engineers who may be responsible for the success of historic events but who remain anonymous to popular history. Without Houbolt’s idea and persistence, this event would not have been possible. So that he is not just a footnote in history our exhibit opens a window into the work and life of John C. Houbolt.

 

For an informative account of Houbolt’s contribution visit NPR’s 1A interview with Todd Zwillich, “Fly Me To The Moon: Apollo 11 and The Unsung Hero Who Made It Happen”

Archives On The Move – New Location

The University of Illinois Archives has officially re-opened to the public. Our new location, room 146 Main Library is open and ready for visitors. The new location is easy to find and features a large brightly lit reading room, all new furniture, new wireless networking, and outlets at every table.

Over the next few months, we will be working on all the procedural, operational, and technology adjustments that come with any new space.
However, for the moment, contrary to all the naysayers, it has happened, we have moved, and an architect just told me only “Only two years from the program design report to opening day–that’s a land speed record.”

So, come see for yourself, and if you cannot visit sunny Urbana (err, well we have actually moved across the city line even though the zip code is the same), look at the moved-in photos available at the following URL.

For photographs documenting our move please visit: https://uofi.box.com/ArchivesNewSpace

Archives On The Move

Stay Tuned! Daily Updates on the progress of the move, including new photos, will be added starting May 21!

In 1963 the University of Illinois Archives opened its doors to the public. For 52 years the basement of the Main Library Building has been our home and it has served our needs well, but as the collections grew and as ever more students and scholars came to use the Archives, Room 19 became too cramped and unsuitable for our users. For the past three years, the archivists and the Library’s Assistant Dean for Facilities have been working to create a space more fitting to the Archives’great collections and users.

On May 21, 2015 the University of Illinois Archives will begin to relocate its core collections and public service operations from the basement to the former Applied Health Sciences Library (room 146 Main Library).

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New Reading Room
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New Stacks

The new home of the University Archives has been recently remodeled and outfitted with new equipment, large tables, improved wireless connectivity and expanded oversize storage. In addition to new equipment the remodel includes designated archival instruction and exhibit space as well as expanded stations for staff working with born-digital and digitized archives.

 

To ensure a speedy move our basement location (room 19 Main Library) will close its doors to the public between May 21 and May 29, 2015.

Only the Main Library location will be unavailable to the public during this time. The Student Life and Culture Archives and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music will continue their regular hours of operation.

We will continue to check our email (illiarch@illinois.edu) and voice mail (217-333-0798) during the move.

Looking forward to opening our doors June 01, 2015!

For more photographs documenting our move please visit: https://uofi.box.com/ArchivesNewSpace

Participants Wanted for University Archives Usability Study

The University of Illinois Archives is seeking research participants to take part in a usability study focused on gathering information concerning ways in which users navigate and interact with the University of Illinois Archives website.

As a participant in this study, you will be asked to complete a small number of tasks using the University Archives website. Each usability test will be completed in the University of Illinois Library’s usability lab (Room 306 Main Library). Your screen movements and vocalized reactions will be recorded and transmitted to a remote computer for observation by members of the research team. The entire test will take no more than 60 minutes to complete, and no follow-up sessions are planned. If you are interested in participating in our study please contact Jameatris Rimkus, Archivist for Reference & User Engagement at jyjohnso@illinois.edu by August 30, 2013.

Illinois Loyalty Amidst the Icebergs

In recognition of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the University of Illinois’ participation in an Arctic expedition, the University Archives has prepared an on-line exhibit featuring first-hand accounts of this ill-fated trip to find the “Crocker Lands”. The exhibit focuses on the observations of W. Elmer Ekblaw (class of 1910) who served as the expedition team’s geologist, and provides insights to survival in a brutal climate away from the rest of the world that was rushing into World War I.

 

Enter Exhibit

 

Illustrated by Fridtjof Nansen.
Illustrated by Fridtjof Nansen.