NASA before PowerPoint?

Claim: this is a photo of NASA before PowerPoint in 1961.


Photo credit: LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

The claim is false: this staged photograph was actually taken in October 1957. NASA was established on July 29, 1958 when president Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act.

Getty Images caption: Six unidentified scientists uses a ladders and a large chalk board to work out equations for satellite orbits at Systems Labs, California, 1957. System Labs is relatively unknown, but one obituary found from the Online Archive of California contains some background information.

According to several sources, this photo was taken just six days after the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik 1. One reference: The Space Equation (Reader’s Digest APAC 2016).

Here is another photograph of the six unidentified scientists:


Google’s LIFE magazine picture collection contains more photographs that shows how the photographs were staged.

Hidden Figures movie contains several scenes with similar blackboards and ladders. However, I have not found any NASA photographs which would prove that blackboards and ladders were actually used. If you have information about this topic, please leave a comment.


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