Herbert Stephen Desind was a Washington, D.C. area native born on January 15, 1945, raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and educated at the University of Maryland. He obtained his BA degree in Communications at Maryland in 1967, and began working in the local public schools as a science teacher. At the time of his death, in October 1992, he was a high school teacher and a freelance writer/lecturer on spaceflight. Desind also was an avid model rocketeer, specializing in using the Estes Cineroc, a model rocket with an 8mm movie camera mounted in the nose. To many members of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), he was known as "Mr. Cineroc." His extensive requests worldwide for information and photographs of rocketry programs even led to a visit from FBI agents who asked him about the nature of his activities.
Mr. Desind used the collection to support his writings in NAR publications, and his building scale model rockets for NAR competitions. Desind also used the material in the classroom, and in promoting model rocket clubs to foster an interest in spaceflight among his students.
Desind entered the NASA Teacher in Space program in 1985, but it is not clear how far along his submission rose in the selection process. He was not a semi-finalist, although he had a strong application.
In 1991, Desind was named Science Teacher of the Year by Prince George's County and the Potomac Electric Power Company.
Desind died October 16, 1992, having succumbed to colon cancer.
On November 17, 1994, the Herbert Desind Memorial Space Awareness Center, a state-of-the-art facility, was created and dedicated at Laurel High School. Today that Center houses the Cooperative Satellite Learning Project (CSLP) class as well as other science classes. The CSLP is a business, government, and educational partnership, focusing on space sciences and engineering. One of the sponsors of CSLP is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In 1997, Desind's father and sister donated his collection to the National Air and Space Museum.