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Archives at The Museum of Flight

G. Harry Stine Space History and Model Rocketry Collection

Identifier: 2013-09-17
The G. Harry Stine Space History and Model Rocketry Collection consist of the personal papers of rocket scientist and early model rocket pioneer George Harry Stine. The material in the collection is made up of correspondence, technical drawings, manuscripts, research files, photographic and audiovisual materials, and ephemera. The papers document the founding of the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), the growth of the model rocketry industry, and other research and developments on rocketry in the latter half of the twentieth century. The collection has been organized in six series: I. Model Rocketry, 1957-2008; II. Writings, 1957-1994; III. Aeronautical Research Files, 1918-1994; IV. Personal and Other Professional Work, 1955-1997; V. Slides and Audiovisual Materials, 1946-1992; and VI. Henri Coanda Archives, 1914-1965. The materials are primarily in English, with a few items in French, German and Russian.

Series I. Model Rocketry documents Stine’s involvement with the founding of the National Association of Rocketry though early committee records, publications, Plan Program Fact Sheets, safety codes and reports. Included in the material are thousands of photographs illustrating the founding years of the annual model rocket meets held by the organization beginning in the late 1950s. These photographs illustrate early meets and competitions of the NAR, as well as affiliated sections throughout the United States. In addition, there are numerous documents regarding international model rocketry and the symbiotic partnership in developing the hobby between the U.S. and Europe from the 1960s until the late 1980s.

Another set of records consists of Stine’s documents on safety codes and regulations pertaining to model rocketry. These records reflect his work on the Pyrotechnics Committee beginning in the early 1970s. The committee worked with the National Fire Protection Agency. Included are correspondence and meeting minutes, as well as documents on fire marshals and the Fire Prevention Committee.

Series I. also includes numerous files on the various corporations who produced model rockets for consumers within the United States; most notably Estes Industries, Centuri Engineering, Inc., Aerospace Vehicles, and Model Missiles, Inc. Within the files there is a large amount of correspondence between Stine and Orville Carlisle who together founded Model Missiles, Inc. beginning in 1957.

The second series, is comprised of Stine’s writings, including contributions to publications such as American Modeler Magazine and Model Rocketry Magazine, spanning the 1950s to 1980s. These works are all well documented with original drafts of his articles as well as final publications. As part of the manuscript material there are also early versions and revisions of Stine’s renowned publication Handbook of Model Rocketry. Included are examples of his notes where he formulates new ideas for model rocket designs.

Series III. Aeronautical Research Files is the largest portion of the collection, representing Stine’s personal and professional interest in aeronautical research. These files encompass rocket designs and development; space programs within the United States and internationally, predominantly the Soviet Union; aircraft; and aerospace research facilities. A notable aspect of the material is the thousands of oversized technical illustrations of rockets and examples of model rockets designs inspired and based upon rockets listed in the subseries.

The fourth series is an assortment of files documenting other personal and professional accomplishments of Stine, such as his contribution to research of commercial space travel, a few examples of his work as a science-fiction writer under the penname Lee Correy, his personal inventories of his model rocket collection, and documents related to his work at White Sands Proving Grounds in the 1950s.

Series V. consists of audio-visual materials and 35mm slides. While the subject matter overlaps much of the rest of the collection, the materials were maintained as a series following Stine’s original organization of the collection. There are roughly 3,000 35mm slides related to model rocketry and the various meets and competitions that Stine attended throughout his lifetime. In addition to photo-documentation of model rocketry, there are also slides related to aeronautical research which illustrate individual rockets, manned space flight, and aircraft. Other formats in the audio-visual subseries are 8mm and 16mm film, VHS, 45-rpm records, a few instances of DVDs and a large grouping of both audiocassette tapes and open-reel magnetic audio recording tape.

The final and smallest series is the personal archives of Henri Coanda, Romanian aeronautical engineer with whom Stine worked at Huyck Research Center in the 1960s, including photographs, designs, and Coanda’s handwritten autobiography.


  • 1914-2008
  • Majority of material found within 1956-1988


Language of Materials

Some materials are in Russian, French, and German. All other materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research and is accessible in the Dahlberg Research Center by appointment. Some of the audiovisual materials have not been reformatted and may not be used at this time. 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.


80 Cubic Feet (118 letter size full-width document boxes, 3 legal size full-width document boxes, 5 record cartons, 4 oversize boxes (16 1/2" x 20 1/2" x 3"), 3 oversize boxes (20 1/2" x 24 1/2" x 3), 6 oversize rolled storage boxes, 58 oversize folders (35 3/4" x 47 3/4"))


The G. Harry Stine Space History and Model Rocketry Collection encompasses the professional work of G. Harry Stine, the founder of model rocketry in the United States. The collection includes material related to his work in the National Association of Rocketry, drafts of his writings, rocket designs, materials affiliated with model rocketry corporations, and his aeronautical research files.

Biographical Note: G. Harry Stine

George Harry Stine (March 26, 1928 – November 2, 1997) was one of the founders of model rocketry and an expert on science and technology. Within the field he worked as a writer, researcher and consultant. In addition, he published as a science fiction author under the penname Lee Correy.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Dr. George H. and Rhea M. Stine, “Harry” Stine grew up in Colorado Springs, which he considered his hometown. He attended both New Mexico Military Institute and Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where graduated with a B.A. in physics in 1952. Upon his graduation he went to work at White Sands Proving Grounds, first as a civilian scientist and then, from 1955–1957, at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Missile Test Facility as head of the Range Operations Division.

While working at White Sands, Stine was involved with high altitude rockets, range flight safety, and rocket motor testing. Additionally, he handled inquiries from young people concerning rockets, which inspired him to write an article in 1957 titled “The World’s Safest Business” for Mechanics Illustrated about rocket safety. Shortly after the publication of the article, Stine received a letter from Orville H. Carlisle (July 5, 1917 – August 1, 1988) reaching out to share his latest invention, the “Rock-A-Chute”. Carlisle appreciated Stine’s writing on the subject and asked if he could send Stine a version of his model rocket prototype. Stine was impressed with the samples that Carlisle sent him and wrote a cover article for the October 1957 issue of Mechanics Illustrated about the designs. From there, the two began a correspondence and collaborated in the development of model rockets. Stine guided Carlisle on propellant material suitable for his designs and on safety measures he should follow. Through this partnership they opened a hobby rocket business, Model Missiles, Inc., the first manufacturer of model rockets and their engines, in 1957. Vern Estes joined Model Missiles, Inc. developing a machine for the company that mass-produced rocket motors to keep up with growing popularity of the hobby.

Within that same year Stine founded the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). As the founder of the NAR and president until the late 1960s, Stine established the organization’s safety code and sporting code, assisted with the design and production of model rockets, developed educational programming, organized NAR competitions, and worked with various sections affiliated with the organization. He served on the board of trustees and various committees affiliated with the NAR, such as the Editorial Board, where he contributed content and edited the Model Rocketeer, the NAR magazine.

Stine continued to work to popularize the hobby, writing the Handbook of Model Rocketry in 1965, which went on through seven editions over the years. This publication is regarded as the seminal work in writing about model rockets and serves as a source for learning about the hobby. As an avid writer, Stine was a constant contributor to publications like American Modeler Magazine and Model Rocketry Magazine with the series “Count Down” and “The Old Rocketeer” where he chronicled the development and highlights of the hobby. Other publications he contributed to on the topic of sports rocketry include Popular Mechanics, American Aircraft Modeler, Craft, Model and Hobby Industry, and Mechanix Illustrated.

NAR established many formal protocols addressing safety and sporting codes for the sport. Stine produced numerous writings, conducted tests, developed the standards, and made them available to the model rocket users making it a safe and educational activity. As an influential figure in model rocketry the National Fire Protection Agency looked to him to serve as chairman of the Pyrotechnics Committee as a representative for the sports rocketry community to discuss safety concerns; he served on this committee for twenty years.

In addition to serving on organizations and committees related to safety, Stine also served for eleven years on the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). Through this connection he assisted on the groundwork for international space model rocketry throughout Europe, beginning in the early 1960s. He worked closely with Otakar Saffek to establish the Space Models Subcommittee of the FAI, assisted with writing the international sporting code for rocketry, and organized large international competitions between various countries, including the United States. In 1985 he was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the FAI for his life-long contribution to the development of space model rocketry.

Stine had a significant professional career in the field of aeronautics as a researcher, consultant, and author. He began working as a technological forecaster and space planner with the Martin Company in 1957. He was science advisor to CBS-TV News during the Apollo missions. He was a consultant to numerous aeronautical institutes such as the Franklin Institute, the Hudson Institute, and the Institute for the Future. Beginning in 1965, he worked as a researcher and consultant for the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) where he prepared accurate drawings and space control models of twelve historic space launch vehicles and spacecraft, as well as 18 historic aerospace vehicles. Many of these drawings remain in the Museum’s collection. He also worked alongside Romanian engineer and inventor Henri Coandă at the Huyck Research Center, where they shared an office from 1961-1965. This led to a lifelong friendship and correspondence between the two. Coandă gifted parts of his personal papers to Stine before his passing in 1972.

From his work in the aerospace industry Stine became very interested in space industrialization and commercialization. Later in life was he worked on managing and financing space programs related to space tourism. He founded space travel committees in Arizona and worked as a lead member for the Arizona Space Commission, the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy, and the Space Access Society. In addition, Stine worked as a primary consultant on the definitive NASA study on space industrialization in 1977-1978.

Stine published actively on aeronautical studies as a science-fact columnist for Astounding and its successor Analog Science Fact and Fiction. Other publications he contributed to include, Scientific American and Space Journal. He also wrote as a science-fiction author under the penname Lee Correy. One of his first works was “Galactic Gadgeteers” for Astounding in May 1951. Some of his titles include Shuttle Down, Rocket Man, Starship through Space and a Star Trek novel called The Abode of Life.

Stine and his wife Barbara had three children together, Bill, Connie, and Ellie. He included his whole family in the hobby of model rocketry. They frequently assisted and participated in NAR meets. His daughter Ellie Stine was a contestant in the 1st World Space Modeling Championship held in 1972. Stine passed away in his home in Phoenix, Arizona on November 2, 1997.

Source Note: Biographical information derived from the collection and donor information.


Very little evidential original order was present in the collection upon transfer to the Museum aside from folder titles assigned by Stine which have been retained throughout the collection. After surveying the material the Project Archivist inferred from the context of the records that the collection should be grouped into six main series: Model Rocketry, Writings, Aeronautical Research Files, Personal and Other Professional Work, 35mm Slides and Audiovisual Materials, and Henry Coanda Archives. These were broken down further into subseries that reflected the main themes that correlated to the folder titles Stine assigned to the records. The Project Archivist imposed physical order where necessary to develop groups of related records arranged according to a meaningful theme. The main series and sub-series hierarchy developed a foundation for physically arranging the files into a cohesive and researchable system that retained elements of Stine’s original order when possible but also emphasizing the main themes in the collection.

Series 1. Model Rocketry (boxes 1-36, 127-128, and flat files 7-1) has been arranged by major themes of Stine’s work within the hobby. NAR Committee records have been alphabetized by committee name, as well as their publications and other affiliated sections. The various meets and competitions have been organized chronologically. A similar structure has been assigned to the International Model Rocketry subseries.

The Writings series (boxes 36-45) has been organized into groupings of Stine’s book manuscripts, short works, notes, assorted works, and works by other authors. The Book Manuscripts subseries is broken down into his major works, starting with the Handbook of Model Rocketry, and is further organized by manuscript date and editions. The Short Works subseries is structured chronologically maintaining Stine’s original order of the folders.

The largest of the series is the Aeronautical Research Files (boxes 45-100, 108, 128-139, and flat files 7-2 to 8-1). The subjects within this series have been organized alphabetically except for Space – General subseries and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration subseries which were placed at the end of the series because of the more general and assorted subject matter within them. The records in this series are housed in both document boxes as well as in oversized storage.

Series 4. Personal and Other Professional Work (boxes 100-106, 130, 133, and flat file 8-1) is organized alphabetically by subject.

Series 5. 35mm Slides and Audiovisual Materials (boxes 109-125) has been arranged by format and maintains the original order established by the creator. The 35mm slides were donated in metal cases that were labeled by Stine. The slides were rehoused into sleeves and folders but slides remain in original sequence and the folders are titled after the original cases.

The audiovisual material has been rearranged and organized by format. Because there was no contextual information for this grouping before processing the Project Archivist established a structure by format and then cataloged each item to aid in identifying individual items.

The final series, Henri Coanda Archives (box 126), has been arranged by format.

The majority of the collection consists of papers and photographs housed in document boxes, however there is a significant amount of oversize material in the collection as well. The oversized material in the collection was donated in 10 oversize boxes with very little context to the contents, most often tightly rolled together. Only one box “Centuri Engineering, Inc.” had a common theme between documents, which has been retained to preserve the existing relationship. In addition, there were multiple oversized documents folded within the folders of documents. Some of these items were duplicates of what was located in the oversize boxes. In total there were over 2,000 oversized documents donated with the collection. The Project Archivist inventoried each individual item to collect identifiable information for the document and to develop relationships between them. Once each oversized document was cataloged, three copies were retained with collection and any additional copies were deaccessioned. The remaining documents were arranged based upon how they related to the above-described series and folder listing established by the archivist. Oversized materials were cataloged according to their intellectual position within the collection, regardless of size or format. When there is an oversized illustration or document connected to a folder, the oversize location is listed in the inventory alongside the folder of documents. Oversize documents were unfolded, unrolled humidified and flattened when necessary.

Organization by Format Storage
  • Black-and-white photographs, color photographs, and paper material: boxes 1-108, 126;
  • 35mm slides: boxes 109-120;
  • Audiovisual material: boxes 121-125;
  • Oversize material: boxes 127-139, flat files 7-1 to 8-1
  • Other Finding Aids

    The following more detailed inventories for certain materials are also available upon request:

    • 2013-09-17_Stine Collection_AV material
    • 2013-09-17_Stine Collection_Oversize material
    • 2013-09-17_Stine Collection _Trade Literature_Catalogs
    • 2013-09-17_Stine Collection_Separations

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was donated by the creator’s son.


    No further accruals are expected.

    Related Materials

    The National Air and Space Museum has a small collection related to G. Harry Stine:

    Separated Materials

    As part of the processing steps specific non-archival material was separated and moved to the appropriate location. Serials, books, and other publications were moved to the Harl V. Brackin Library and objects were relocated to Objects storage at the Museum of Flight. Posters, catalogs, decals, press kits and other model rocketry corporate ephemera was moved to the Trade Literature artifical collection.
    Guide to the G. Harry Stine Space History and Model Rocketry Collection
    Completed - Level 3
    C. Michelsen
    Description rules
    Language of description
    Processing and cataloging of this collection was made possible by the National Association of Rocketry and private donations.
    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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