Skip to main content

Lana Murphy Couch papers

 Collection — Box: 4 boxes
Identifier: MSA 312
The Lana Murphy Couch papers (1953-1997; 1.4 cubic feet) document Couch’s forty year career with NASA, first as a wind tunnel test engineer, and later in management positions. Types of materials include: correspondence, newsletters, papers, photographs, programs, publications, research & work reports, technical reports, VHS™ tapes, writings, and material related to award recognition. The papers are organized into four series, and are arranged in chronological order within each.


  • 1953-1997
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1970-1995


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Purdue University


1.40 Cubic Feet

4 mss boxes other_unmapped


Technical reports, writings, research & work reports, correspondence, photographs, VHS tapes, and material related to award recognition, which document the forty-year NASA career of Lana Murphy Couch.

Biographical / Historical

Lana Murphy Couch was born in Smiths Grove, Kentucky on Nov. 27, 1941. She was the only child of Floyd W. and Fanny C. Murphy. Couch moved to Martinsville, Indiana in the early 1950s. She was a 1963 graduate of Purdue University with a degree in aeronautical engineering.

Couch was employed by NASA, Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. and NASA, Headquarters in Washington, DC from 1963 through 2003. She started her career as a wind tunnel test engineer and advanced through a series of increasingly responsible technical and management positions to retire in 2003 as the Associate Director for Business Management at NASA Langley Research Center.

She was a member of the Senior Executive Service and a Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumnus. Couch was a Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was the holder of several U. S. and international patents for improvements to wind tunnel design and was the author of many technical papers. She was also the recipient of numerous technical and management awards for her contributions to NASA and to aeronautical sciences including the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medal.

Lana Murphy Couch passed away on April 22, 2007.


NASA News, excerpted from the Daily Press on April 24, 2007.

Arrangement Note

Series 1. Writings and Publications. Contained within this series are NASA technical reports, memoranda, and notes, along with conference papers, articles, and working papers that Couch authored or co-authored.

Series 2. Printed Material. The printed material consists of a 1953 National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics document with equations, tables, and charts for compressible flow. Also included is a collection of research related to wind tunnels, Scramjet technology, hypersonic aircraft, and a paper titled, “Flight Research Vehicle to Bridge Shuttle and Hypersonic Aircraft Technology.”

Series 3. Audio Visual Material. This series is comprised of two tapes containing footage of the House Subcommittee on Transportation, Aviation and Materials on High Speed Aeronautics with testimony from Dr. Raymond Colladay, Aeronautics and Space technician, NASA, July 24, 1985

Series 4. “Personal File,” – Photographs, Correspondence, and Newsletter Articles. The items in this series were found in a file labeled, “Lana Couch – Personal File,” so items were left as originally grouped. Much of the material is photographs, correspondence, letters of congratulations, and newsletter articles in regards to awards Couch received; nomination recognition for the Federal Woman’s Award in 1974; NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and National Aviation Club, “Women in Aviation,” both received in 1986; NASA’s Group Achievement Award on behalf of the National Aero-Space Plane Program Team in 1988; and election to Fellow of the AIAA, 1997. Also found in the file is printed material in recognition of her contributions to United States Patent, 4,485,670, “Heat Pipe Cooled Probe,” in 1985. Lastly, there is a document titled, “Some Thoughts on Future Directions for the Space Systems Division,” by Walter B. Olstad, July 31, 1978.

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, and acid-free boxes. All series are arranged in chronological order.
Lana Murphy Couch papers
Mary A. Sego
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