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University of Houston - Clear Lake
University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives
News Release
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Max Faget papers become part of UH-Clear Lake archives


HOUSTON — A link to space program history contained in 26 cardboard boxes has officially found a home in the University of Houston-Clear Lake Archives.  The professional and personal papers, photographs, awards, yearbooks, reels of home movie and travel film, scrapbooks and letters belonged to Max Faget, the American engineer and designer of the NASA Mercury capsule who died in 2004 at age 83. The collection is now housed in the UH-Clear Lake Archives located within the Alfred R. Neumann Library, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, 77058.


Donated by Faget’s family, the collection provides a valuable glimpse into the personal history of a man considered an icon of the space program. The Faget papers will be part of the university’s Human Space Flight collection, says UH-Clear Lake Archivist Shelly Kelly. They will be made available to the public following processing and cataloguing, which will take between 18 – 24 months.


“Max Faget papers, housed at UHCL, will allow the researcher to better know the person behind the NASA engineer and inventor,” says Kelly.


Faget’s list of awards, achievements and publications is long. His patented designs for manned spacecraft later used in Project Mercury left a lasting legacy for NASA and space exploration. Faget was among the original group of 35 assigned to the NASA Space Task Group. Born in Stam Creek, British Honduras in 1921, he studied at San Francisco, California, Junior College and received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University. He served three years as a Navy officer before joining NASA Langley Research Center as a research scientist, where he worked on designing the X-15 hypersonic spacecraft.


Faget went on to design the Mercury capsule, groundbreaking work that later contributed to Gemini and Apollo spacecraft as well as the Space Shuttle. He also led development of the escape tower used on Mercury used in some form aboard nearly all manned spacecraft that followed. He was a member of the National Space Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and was awarded the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership.


For more information about the UH-Clear Lake archives, visit and select the “Archives/JSC Coll” or call 281-283-3936.


University of Houston-Clear Lake offers 40 undergraduate and 45 graduate degree programs, including a doctoral program, from its four schools, which include the School of Business, School of Education, School of Human Sciences and Humanities, and School of Science and Computer Engineering. For more information about the university, visit

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