Archive 51

NRPI Found Film


What is real anyway?

In the 1980s, the Nevada Rocket & Propulsion Initiative, a collaborative group of scientists, researchers, students, and hobbyists from various institutions in Southern California and Arizona, conducted a series of tests and rocket launches in the Nevada desert. The projects, which spanned from 1980 and finally concluded in 1987, led to some key breakthroughs in space flight technology. Many of the nearly 30 tests and launches were attended by small crowds of enthusiasts and the occasional TV news crew.

The vast majority of projects conducted by the Nevada Rocket & Propulsion Initiative during the 1980s did not result in actual space flight. However, the experiments led to significant advancements in rocket propulsion systems, launchpad design, aerial communications systems design, preflight launch procedures, and unplanned deconstruction analysis.

Despite important contributions to the field of space exploration during this time, the NRPI's projects were overshadowed by the well-funded public projects from NASA and the US Air Force. During this time, NASA was working on several high-profile projects, such as the Space Shuttle program, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Voyager missions, which captured the attention of the public and received significant funding from the government.

This series of 51 photographs was recently discovered, however the author is unknown. It is thought that the photographer was either a member of the NRPI or a dedicated enthusiast who may have known someone involved with the initiative. Each photo seems to document various moments through the 11-year period ranging from rocket launches and explosions to launch party tailgates and dinners. Two types of photos were found, Polaroids and 35mm prints (Kodak and Fujifilm).

It is assumed that more photographs will be recovered in the future...

What’s real anyway?