Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

John A. O'Keefe (1916-2001) was a pioneer in space geodesy and planetary physics, but his passion was his longtime study of tektites. O'Keefe graduated from Harvard University in 1937 with a bachelor's degree in astronomy and received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1941. During World War II, O'Keefe was with the US Army Corps of Engineers, where he spent 13 years heading the research and analysis branch. During his time with the Corps, O'Keefe made significant contributions to geodesy, including his development of the present NATO map coordinate system (UTM) and his initiative to use satellite tracking for geodesy. In 1958, O'Keefe left the Army Map Service to become the assistant chief of the theoretical division at NASA's newly formed Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. At Goddard, O'Keefe spent the remainder of this career focusing on the study of tektites and the origin of the moon. O'Keefe authored the book, Tektites and Their Origin (1976), in which he presents his belief that tektites were ejected from volcanoes on the moon.

Identifier

NASM.2002.0055

Creator

O'Keefe, John Aloysius, 1916-

Date

undated

Provenance

Martha O'Keefe, Gift, 2002

Extent

31.61 Cubic feet ((29 record center boxes))

Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Type

Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Papers

Correspondence

Photographs

Reports

Slides (photographs)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of twenty-nine cubic feet of the papers of John A. O'Keefe, mostly relating to his study of tektites. The following types of material are included: correspondence, publications by O'Keefe and various authors, photographs, slides, notes, and reports.

Genre/Form

Papers

Correspondence

Photographs

Reports

Slides (photographs)

Rights

Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests

Topics Tektite
Geodesics (Mathematics)
Physics

Citation

John A. O'Keefe Collection, Accession 2002-0055, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Finding Aid Online Finding Aid