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Mark K. Craig papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 81
The Mark K. Craig papers document Purdue alumnus (BSAE 1971) Mark Craig's almost fifty year career in space exploration. Craig contributed to the Apollo, Apollo-Soyuz, Space Shuttle, Space Station, Mars Rover Sample Return, and Lunar-Mars Exploration programs in positions progressing from co-op intern to NASA Assistant Administrator. The papers also reflect Craig’s work on space policy and NASA strategic planning.

The collection notably includes materials related to the day-to-day engineering work early in Craig's career as he witnessed and contributed to the development of the United States Space Shuttle as the youngest member of Max Faget's 1969 Space Shuttle concept development "skunk works" and subsequently worked on the engineering of the shuttle's solid rocket booster (SRB)staging system. During his early career he also provided support for the Apollo-Soyuz Working Group 3, invented the "Hypercube" technique to acquire and access eight-dimensional aerodynamic data, and led math modeling and Zero-G aircraft tests for Return-To-Launch-Sites shuttle aborts. The papers follow Craig’s career to reflect his mid-career project management roles in initiatives such as the development of the Space Station where Craig served as lead engineer for the Space Station Task Force Concept Development Group (CDG) (1983 - 1987), lead engineer for the Space Station "Skunk Works," and served as an engineering manager for the Space Station Program Systems Engineering and Integration. The papers also document Craig's work as manager for NASA's Lunar-Mars exploration initiative (1988), his administrative work on the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) which included serving as principal SEI liaison with the White House National Space Council and drafting the initial Space Council SEI policy. Administrative and policy-focused work is reflected in the papers of his late career positions at NASA. The collection includes material documenting Craig's work as NASA strategic plan architect (1993 - 1995), creator of the Strategic Enterprise concept and the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Enterprise and its strategy.

In summary, the collection holds key working papers that focus on the technical, programmatic, strategy, space policy, and public engagement aspects of key NASA human space flight and Mars initiatives 1969 - 2005. Types of materials include: artifacts, awards, books, certificates, charts, correspondence, designs, DVD-Video discs, films, graphs, market research, memorabilia, memoranda, negatives, notebooks, notes, opinion polls, papers, photographs, posters, presentations, publications, reference materials, reports, slides, spreadsheets, textbooks, and VHS tapes.


  • 1917 - 2016
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 2000


Language of Materials

Collection material is primarily in English. Cyrillic and Russian are also present.

Acess Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection is in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue UNiversity or original creator. Original interviews property of NASA. Consult with Purdue UnNiversity Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.


36.027 Cubic Feet (Eighty-six letter-size full-width manuscript boxes, eleven letter-size half-width manuscript boxes, two cubic feet boxes, and five flat boxes. Some oversized items are in a flat file.)


The papers are organized into eighteen series and follow the path of Craig's career, with the exception of his reference materials, education material, and career highlights/memorabilia appearing at the end of his papers. The material is in chronological order, within each series.
  1. Space Shuttle Program
  2. Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Docking Working Group
  3. Space Station Program
  4. Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) Project
  5. Lunar and Mars Exploration Program
  6. President G.H.W. Bush Space Exploration Initiative - SEI
  7. Administrator Redirection Initiatives
  8. NASA Strategy and Strategic Management
  9. Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) Strategic Enterprise
  10. Sustainability, Stability, and Value of NASA Human Space Flight
  11. Stennis Space Center (SSC) Management
  12. Johnson Space Center (JSC) Management
  13. Space Themed Attraction Design
  14. President, American Astronautical Society (AAS)
  15. Reference Material
  16. Career Highlights and Memorabilia
  17. Career Miscellaneous
  18. Personal Album

Physical Access Information

Materials are stored off-site. At least 24 hours notice is required.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mark K. Craig, 2007 - 2016, with bulk of the material arriving in 2016.

Related Materials

MSA 276, Larry Gee papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSA 283, Jerry L. Ross papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSA 302, Mark N. Brown papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSA 272, Mark Geyer papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Processing Information

Whenever possible, original order of the materials has been retained. Most of these items appear in reverse chronological order. All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. Polyester sleeves were used for photographs. Oversized artifacts, awards, certificates, posters, and other printed material have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.

Craig provided much of the descriptive content of the material, and this was retained.
Mark K. Craig papers
Under Review
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