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Archives at The Museum of Flight

William Nicholas Lunar Orbiter Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2018-11-13
The William Nicholas Lunar Orbiter Collection documents the Boeing involvement in the NASA Lunar Orbiter Program. This collection, which dates from 1964 to 1981, consists of documents, photographs, and audiocassettes describing Nicholas' time on the Lunar Orbiter Program.

The collection is organized by format. One folder of textual material contains Scientific American articles and the official “Lunar Orbiter” booklet produced by NASA. A folder of photographs contains ten 8x10" prints taken by the the Lunar Orbiter and one of the orbiter itself. The tapes (housed separately) were recorded by Nicholas in 1981 for his father. In the recordings he describes his experiences working for Boeing and collaborating with NASA on the Lunar Orbiter Program.


  • 1964-1981


Language of Materials

All materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. For more information contact us.

Conditions Governing Use

The Museum of Flight (TMOF) Archives is the owner of the physical materials in the archives and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from TMOF archives before any publication use. TMOF does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


.02 Cubic Feet (2 letter-sized folders)


The William Nicholas Lunar Orbiter Collection contains articles, corporate documents, cassette tapes, and photographs relating to the Lunar Orbiter Program.

Biographical Note: William Nicholas

William Nicholas served as a Contracts Administrator with the Lunar Orbiter program. He worked at Boeing for about 10 years in the Contracts Department, and also worked at Western Chain & Gear, and on projects for Vandenberg and Sunstrand. He had received a Master's degree in Education from Standford University. He died in the early 1990s.

No further information is known.
Historical Note: Lunar Orbiters From 1966-1967 NASA launched five unmanned Lunar Orbiters to take photographs of and map the moon, in preparation for the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969. The Lunar Orbiter was the first U.S. spacecraft to orbit the moon and obtained over 200 photos of the moon’s surface. In 1964 Boeing was contracted to build the Lunar Orbiters at their Seattle, Washington missile facility. The five Lunar Orbiters were able to photograph and transmit images that showed 99% of the moon’s surface.

Source: "Historical Snapshot." Boeing: Philip M. Condit. Accessed September 19, 2018. "The Lunar Orbiter Program." Explore Space Science Activities. Accessed September 05, 2018.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by the creator’s brother.


No further accruals are expected.
Guide to the William Nicholas Lunar Orbiter Collection
Completed - Level 2
H. Kolesar
Description rules
Language of description
Edition statement
1st Edition

Repository Details

Part of the The Museum of Flight Archives Repository

9404 East Marginal Way South
Seattle Washington 98108-4097

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
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