National Air and Space Museum Archives

Guide to the Herbert Stephen Desind Collection, 1950-1992

Collection ID:
Desind, Herbert Stephen.
Physical Description:
109 Cubic feet
305 boxes
The collection consists of 109 cubic feet of material, primarily photographs with some additional documentation, covering aerospace topics. The bulk of the material relates to US space exploration, including extensive photo files on US manned missions through the Space Shuttle, and satellite and sounding rocket work. The first series consists of unmanned spacecraft material, the second series consists of manned spacecraft material, and the third series consists of aircraft material.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Herbert Stephen Desind Collection (acc. 1997-0014) contains approximately 109 cubic feet of material relating to aviation and space flight. The material is primarily photographic in nature and focuses on manned and unmanned space flight activities.

  • Series 1: Unmanned Space Programs
  • Series 2: Manned Space Programs
  • Series 3: Aviation subjects
  • Series 4: Country files
  • Series 5: Miscellaneous files
  • Series 6: Press Kits

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
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.

Brian D. Nicklas
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Barbara Desind Kernan, Gift, 1997
Processing Information
The processing archivist found that the order of the collection paralleled for the most part the arrangement and order used by the National Air and Space Museum Archives in arranging the order of the NASM Archives Aviation and Space History Technical files. Desind's original order was maintained wherever possible. Desind tended to cross reference material by filing both payload and launch vehicle material under both the payload and the launch vehicle. In some cases these are not the same images, so the finding aid shows the main subject first and the secondary subject next on the subject line. The country of origin for non-US subjects is also shown. Filing was normally done by subject name rather than designation, which has been added for the sake of clarity. For subjects where the name is actually an acronym, the acronym has been spelled out. For larger files, items were sorted by vehicle number and/or launch date. These are shown on the subject line. The aircraft series were arranged somewhat haphazardly. Variously this was by designation, by company or origin, or by popular name. These files were rearranged to match the order used by the NASM Archives Techical Files; company, then designation, showing popular name. The emphasis Desind placed upon images over textual material is shown in the last series of material, which holds the press kits collected over time. The photographs were removed from the press kits and filed with the appropriate subject; however, in some cases the news releases themselves were only placed in a general folder marked "spacecraft" amongst the press kit holdings. For most of the cited subjects, there is a lack of textual material on the subject, and the patron is reminded of further holdings in the NASM Archives Space History Technical Files. Files marked "Documents" contain response letters from the originators of the photographs to Desind, rather than documents pertaining to the subject of the files. "Emblems" files contain self-adhesive stickers and paper representations of emblems associated with the subject, including payloads and launchers. Stickers have been placed in mylar sleeving to prevent any glue residue from contacting other artifacts. Any cloth or embroidered emblems have been given to the respective curators. "Flight Covers," also known as Postal Covers, are envelopes postmarked and decorated to commemorate a launch or event. Photographs have been separated by type: black and white, color, or transparencies. Photograph folders are photographs only, lithographs and serigraphs have been placed in document folders. Machine transfer images have been placed in document folders. Although Desind was a model rocket builder, there are no blueprints or technical drawings of rockets with the collection.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access.
Preferred Citation
Herbert Stephen Desind Collection, Accession 1997-0014, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Manned space flight Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artificial satellites Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Outer space -- Exploration Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Astronautics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Space flight Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Space shuttles Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rockets (Aeronautics) Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151