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Paul J. Weitz papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 172

Scope and Contents

The Paul J. Weitz papers document the time Weitz spent as an United States astronaut and as Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The papers contains eleven notebooks that were used by Weitz to record day-to-day meeting notes and tasks. The first entry is April of 1976 and the last entry is January of 1994. The notebooks contain information about The Challenger accident and Weitz's response to the incident from the day it happened and document what the administration did for the families and general public in the wake of the accident.


  • 1976 - 1994


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Paul J. Weitz was born July 25, 1932 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Weitz graduated from Harborcreek High School in Harborcreek, Pennsylvania. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree on a Navy ROTC scholarship in Aeronautical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1954. Weitz earned his Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, in 1964.

Weitz was called to duty during the Vietnam War in 1965. He was deployed to the western Pacific and flew A-3s on combat missions. In May of 1966 Weitz was chosen as part of NASA's fifth group of astronauts. One of Weitz first assignments was the support crew for Apollo 12.

From 1966 to 1973 Weitz did not have a flight assignment. His first flight assignment was for Sky Lab 2. This was the first manned mission to Sky Lab after its initial launch on May 14, 1973. Sky Lab 2 launched on May 25, 1973 with astronauts Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, and Joseph Kerwin. Their main task was to fix problems with a failed heat shield that did not deploy properly making the inside of the space station too warm.

After Skylab 2, Weitz was selected by NASA to be space craft commander on the Space Shuttle Program's sixth flight, "Space Transportation System - 6" (STS-6). Launched on April 4, 1983, STS-6 was the shuttle Challenger's maiden flight. STS-6 spent 120 hours in Space conducting various experiences including, EVAs, recording lighting activities, and carried three experiments designed by university students called "Getaway Specials." These experiments were small, compact canisters that allowed for groups or individuals to conduct experiments in micro-gravity on board the Shuttles.

Weitz held the position of Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office from 1981 to 1987, he was the Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center from 1987 until 1993, the Acting Center Director of the Johnson Space Center from 1993 until 1994, and Weitz held the position of Acting Associate Center Director of the Johnson Space Center when he retired from NASA in 1994.


0.363 Cubic Feet (One letter-size full-width manuscript box)


The notebooks are in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Paul J. Weitz on November 3, 2013.

Related Materials

MSP 193, David C. Leestma papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Processing Information

The notebooks have been placed in an archival box.
Paul J. Weitz papers
Under Review
Max Campbell and Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Third edition. Collection description first completed 2014-10-27.

Revision Statements

  • 2016-08-18: Finding aid processing was updated by Mary A. Sego.
  • 2019-10-01: Collection description updated to new standards by Mary A. Sego.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States