William Walton Vaughan, PhD

William Vaughan

Title: Atmospheric Scientist/NASA Emeritus
Company:  Earth Science Branch, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Location:  Huntsville, Alabama, United States

William Walton Vaughan, PhD, Former Atmospheric Scientist for the Earth Science Branch of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in atmospheric sciences.

Driven by a love of astronautics and science, Dr. Vaughan celebrates an illustrious career marked by accomplishments and success over 60 years. He began his career with the United States military after achieving a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and physical science education at the University of Florida with honors in 1951. Scouted as a prospective staff weather officer due to his strong background in science, Dr. Vaughan was put on a trajectory that included a graduate certificate in atmospheric science from the Air Force Institute of Technology. From there, he spent five years with the U.S. Air Force, followed by a position that was offered to him at the Air Force Armament Center that included research work on the atmospheric effects on munitions. Dr. Vaughan went on to achieve success in prominent roles thereafter, including scientific assistant for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, and chief of the atmospheric sciences division for the Marshall Space Flight Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). His division at NASA was responsible for many of the environmental requirements that went into the design and building of the Saturn V Aerospace Vehicle, space station and space shuttle. When reflecting back on his career, Dr. Vaughan notes that this project was the highlight of his career as it enabled men to be sent to the moon.

Dr. Vaughan attributes his success to education and opportunities. In addition to the aforementioned academic achievements from his early career, Dr. Vaughan earned a PhD in engineering science from the University of Tennessee in 1976. He is also distinguished as a certified consultant meteorologist by the American Meteorology Society. Although now retired, he continues to contribute to his industry through his work as a senior docent for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for NASA. Previously, he gave back to his professional community through a number of career-related projects including associate editor of the Journal of Advanced Technology and Management, member of the advisory committee for the National and International Science Technology Committee, consultant in applied meteorology and technology, consultant for aerospace standards and program management, and consultant in atmospheric science. In addition, Dr. Vaughan has taught at the higher education level. For almost 30 years he was a research professor of atmospheric science for the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he also had a stint as director of its research institute.

Currently, Dr. Vaughan is in the final stages of writing a book with his colleague, Dale L. Johnson. The book is entitled, “Atmospheric Terrestrial Environment Research, Philosophy, and Examples Used in the Design and Development of Aerospace Vehicles.” This book will be the most recent of many publications under Dr. Vaughan’s name. He has contributed articles to professional journals, including “Systems Engineering: A Key for Success in Aerospace Operations,” which was published in the Aeronautics and Aerospace Open Access Journal in 2018. He has also written government technical reports and prepared conference presentations. Dr. Vaughan is a fellow of AIAA, where he has served on a number of committees, including the Standard Executive Council, the Space Operations Technology Committee, the Management Technology Committee and the Atmospheric and Space Environment Technology Committee. As he looks to the future, Dr. Vaughan intends to continue enjoying his retirement while volunteering for community activities.

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