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Clifford Blake Powers papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 80

Scope and Contents

The Clifford Blake Powers papers (1962-2003; 25.3 cubic feet) primarily document Powers’ career with Essex Corporation and CST, Incorporated, in association with NASA. The papers also include various NASA-related publications, promotional material and memorabilia collected by Powers. The papers contain a varied assortment of artifacts, papers and publications related to Powers’ employment at Essex Corporation, where he was the project manager (publications) for the First United States Microgravity Laboratory mission (USML-1), the Second United States Microgravity Laboratory mission (USML-2), the Astro-2 mission, the Gamma Ray Observatory lesson from space (flight visual), Spacelab J mission, and the first Tethered Satellite System mission (TSS-1).  Also included are items from his employment at CST, Incorporated as the Director of Outreach for NASA’s Space Product Development Program. Included are a wealth of NASA and mission related mugs, glassware, memorabilia, posters, press kits, promotional materials, and other printed material. The papers also include NASA publications, photographs, journal articles, and books, as well as awards and certificates from Powers’ years of associated employment with NASA. The varied types of material include: articles, artifacts, awards, books, buttons, certificates, clothing, commemorative pins, first day covers (philately), NASA images, memorabilia, papers, patches, photographs, plaques, posters, press kits (NASA), promotional materials, publications (NASA), a scrapbook, and assorted miscellaneous items. For the complete finding aid, please see the "Other URL" below.


  • 1962-2003
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1990-2002
  • Other: Date acquired: 08/04/2009


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. The collection is stored offsite; 24 hours notice is required to access the collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Purdue University per deed of gift

Biographical / Historical

Clifford Blake Powers is a 1978 graduate of Stratford Academy, an independent college preparatory school in Macon, Georgia. He also did a National Science Foundation summer studies program in energy and national policy at Stratford Academy. Powers studied engineering, English, and psychology at Auburn University before completing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago. As part of his undergraduate studies he served a photographic internship at Playboy magazine and earned his private pilot’s license in 1980. He earned his Master of Science in Communications at the University of Tennessee in 1989, and earned a certificate in International Marketing and Management from the University of Alabama, Huntsville in 1991. In addition, he has undergone Air Force physiological training for high-altitude and specialized flight and holds military expert ratings with M-16 and issue pistol. Most recently he was a Fellow at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism for seminars on “U.S. Military: New President, New Outlook?” and “Digital Life: Policy and Privacy Online” and earned his Basic Emergency Management Certificate (MEMS) and completed the IGR Basic Ground Search and Rescue course.

Powers has more than 25 years’ experience in communications, including work in high technology and biomedical journalism, public relations, and marketing and is an award winning author and photographer. While he worked in high school, his professional career began as an undergraduate working at WEGL and WAUD radio stations in Auburn, and at the Auburn Plainsman newspaper. He did freelance work for a variety of outlets, which led to his becoming Correspondent-at-Large for Space World Magazine in 1983. In 1985 he became Senior Science Writer for Schneider Services International in support of Public Affairs Office operations at the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center where he managed disaster preparedness planning, productivity analysis, office automation development, and edited the base technical magazine among other duties. After earning his Master’s, he worked for Essex Corporation, where he was the project manager (publications) for the First United States Microgravity Laboratory mission (USML-1), the Second United States Microgravity Laboratory mission (USML-2), the Astro-2 mission, the Gamma Ray Observatory lesson from space (flight visual), Spacelab J mission, and the first Tethered Satellite System mission (TSS-1). After a time doing freelance work, he was hired by CST, Inc. to be the Director of Outreach for NASA’s Space Product Development Program. He then worked at Purdue doing marketing for the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. While there, he took vacations to serve as a photojournalist in Iraq in 2007/2008. Powers later wrote a book featuring his photographs about the day-to-day life with troops in Iraq. In addition to print and broadcast work for a variety of outlets worldwide, he is also the author of “The Soviet Watchers” (his Master’s thesis); “A Different View: Travels with Team Easy, Iraq 2007; “A Different View: Travels to Al Qa’im and Beyond;” “A Bride to the Moon;” “A Different View: DJ, Doura, and Arab Jabour;” and “Flight of the Fantasy.”

Source: As noted by Powers :


25.30 Cubic Feet

6 cubic feet boxes, 27 mss boxes, 5 medium flat boxes, 3 small flat boxes and 7 loose, oversized items other_unmapped

21.41 Cubic Feet (6 cubic foot boxes, 25 full width letter size manuscript boxes, 2 half width letter size manuscript boxes, 10 flat boxes)


This collection contains promotional materials, papers and publications related to the public relations, technical writing, editing and marketing career of Clifford Blake Powers. Included are NASA and mission related mugs, glassware, textiles, posters, press kits, and other printed material. Also includes NASA publications, photographs, journal articles, books, memorabilia, as well as awards and certificates achieved by Powers.

Arrangement Note

The papers are organized into seven series:

Series 1. NASA Publications and Press Kits, 1967-1999 (9.9 cubic feet). Materials in this series are arranged into four subseries; NASA Publications; NASA Brochures, Information Sheets, Pamphlets and Miscellaneous Items; NASA Press Kits and Information; and NASA Teaching Materials. The items are arranged chronologically within each group, and descriptions of each subseries is found before the listings for each.

Series 2. Books, Journals, Newspapers and Articles, 1962-2003 (2.5 cubic feet). The books in this series are aircraft, aviation, and aeronautics related, along with a few miscellaneous titles. Some of Powers’ gift books were cataloged and added to Purdue’s collection. A list of those books is found within the finding aid.

Among the journals are Life and Look magazine special issues related to Apollo 8, issues of High Mach, and AEDC Test Highlights: Arnold Engineering Development Center, published by Schneider Services International, while Powers was employed there as a senior science writer, and issues of Space World, collected while Powers was a correspondent for the magazine. Also included are various magazines and newsletters published in the Huntsville, and Auburn, AL areas. Other journals include special issues of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Reports related to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and the World Trade Center and 9/11. Please see the finding aid for a complete listing of the journals, as additional miscellaneous titles round out the collection of journals. The newspapers provide special issues and cover stories of key historical events related to Apollo 11, the Columbia and Challenger disasters, and the return to space following the accidents. A few miscellaneous shuttle related cover stories are also found among the newspapers.

The articles contain three articles written by Powers, various articles related to protein crystal growth, and “notes and coursework on national energy policies,” and related reading material. Also included are various “materials processing” articles, “Spacehab,” “Orbiter Experiments (OEX) Program,” “Results of Medical Research Performed on the 326-day Flight of the Second Prime Crew on the Mir Space Station,” and Space Program – Public Opinion surveys from 1990.

Series 3. Photographs, Audio Visual Material and Digital Media, 1979-2003 (1.1 cubic feet). The photographs in this series include a binder of NASA related photographs; rockets, crews (some signed), photographs from space, and many official NASA photographs with descriptions on the back. There are some “robotics” related photographs and five, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, “Astronomers get ultraviolet look at the moon,” photographs.

Audio visual material includes a 3.5” floppy disk; “Celebrating 20 Years of Space Shuttle Flight: Screensaver,” NASA produced CDs and CD-ROMs, and a few miscellaneous items. Please see finding aid listing for titles and forms of media.

Series 4. Awards, Certificates and Plaques, 1982-2001 (3.6 cubic feet). This series contains framed certificates, flown flags and patches given to Powers in recognition of his work with Astro-1, USML-1, Spacelab J, First Microgravity Laboratory, Astro-2 mission, ATLAS-3, USML-2, Reflight Mission of the Tethered Satellite System, Phase 1 of Shuttle-MIR program, and for his contributions to the Microgravity Research Program Office. Also included are National Aeronautics and Space Administration group achievement awards presented to Powers for his work on the following teams; Astro-1 Space Classroom Assignment, First U.S. Microgravity team, USML-2 mission team, Astro-2 mission team, ATLAS-3 mission team, and Space Product Development Program STS-95 team. Other awards include; “Right Stuff Award,” and “Society for Technical Communication, Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama, Chapters, Technical Publications Competition, Best of Show,” presented to C. Blake Powers for The First Mission of the Tethered Satellite System (writing and editing), January 21, 1993. Also found within this series is correspondence and related commendations received by Powers, 1982-2000, and certifications issued to Powers by the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Division of Continuing Education Professional Development, 1991.

Series 5. Scrapbook, 1986 (0.5 cubic feet). The scrapbook contains a Challenger crew photograph and numerous clippings about the Challenger disaster. The scrapbook was received with the clippings and photograph laminated on the scrapbook pages.

Series 6. Artifacts, circa 1970s-2001 (6.5 cubic feet). The artifacts series consists of NASA mugs and glassware; NASA mission patches (cloth and adhesive); pins, buttons; visitor, press, exhibitor and vehicle passes; first day covers and a framed 25th anniversary of the first moon landing commemorative edition sheet of stamps; note pads and covers; flight tether samples; aero gel; “Moon Writer, pressurized stick pens;” business cards; STS-47, Spacelab J, T-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket; STS-35, STS-42, STS-73 and “Team US MIL-1,” T-shirts, along with additional promotional materials and miscellaneous items. The various items are listed below. The buttons, passes, patches, and pins have been placed in their own artifact boxes and placed within a cubic foot box, for ease of use by researchers.

Series 7. Oversized Items, 1986-1996 (most items undated) (1.5 cubic feet). The oversized items (OS) include mock-up covers for High Mach, magazine, vol. 33, no. 3, March 1986, and the publication, “ASTRO-2: Continuing exploration of the invisible universe.” Also included are matted photographs of the Space Shuttle and Spacelab J, space related posters (some unopened), and a framed, 26” x 26” photo collage given to Powers while employed at Schneider Services International, “in appreciation of J-5 accident clean-up.”

Source of Acquisition

Donated by Clifford Blake Powers, April 8, 2009-December 5, 2012

Accruals and Additions

20090708--addition 1 20090806--addition 2 20091221--addition 3 20100806--addition 4 20120920--addition 5 20121205--addition 6

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

multi-part note content

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, acid-free boxes and artifact boxes. Oversized certificates, photographs, posters, and other printed material have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes. Most items are in chronological order within their respective series or subseries. Please note that many items are undated. Four rolled items and one framed photograph, previously loose, have been rehoused in an oversized flat box.
Clifford Blake Powers papers
In Progress
Mary A. Sego, 20015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States