A Florida woman discovered NASA documents, which included photographs of classified aerospace projects, in trash outside her home, according to Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG News 6.
Yvette Quinn, who is a reportedly a Navy veteran, found the pile of documents in a neighbor’s trash can a few weeks ago and turned them over to WKMG. The house is apparently up for sale, according to the TV station’s footage.
Quinn was concerned about what she had found because the records included a list of scientists that had secret and top secret clearances. The documents also had the social security number of each scientist listed beside the name in plain view, which could’ve led to identity theft. Quinn said it was “scary” because all the secret information was sitting there in the trash can.
However, she didn’t realize at first that the list of names and social security numbers wasn’t the only sensitive information she had found. The documents included early test results of aerospace models and drones. Photos and manuals from the NASA space program were also hidden in the piles of documents.
Other records were related to drone tests at the Martin Marietta Corporation. The company was founded in 1961 and focused on chemicals, aerospace, and electronics. Martin Marietta later went on to merge with Lockheed Corporation in March 1995 to form the aerospace company Lockheed Martin.
Charles Jeffrey, a space flight memorabilia appraiser for the American Space Musuem in Titusville, Florida, told WKMG that Martin Marietta was “designing some of the very first unmanned aircraft drones.” He said the press manual for the 1960s launch system Gemini Titan II and the Titan manual found in a stack of photos in the piles were “history.” The test results and black and white photos belonged to G.H. Hampton, an aerospace engineer at the company, who seemed to have access to rare NASA images and artists’ renderings.
The documents also included a NASA Causeway pass for the STS-96 shuttle launch dated May 27, 1999, which are handwritten and signed by Hampton. There was also a 1960s-era rendering of a lunar excursion vehicle in the pile, which was one of the earliest designs for a vehicle to land on the moon, Jeffrey told WKMG. That exact model can now be found at the American Space Museum.
The documents found by Quinn were donated to the American Space Museum by WKMG.