Richard Tousey Papers

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

Richard Tousey (1908 - 1997) was a prominent Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) space scientist whose career spans the V-2, Aerobee, OSO, Solrad, and Skylab eras. Tousey graduated from Tufts College in 1928, and received his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard in 1933. After teaching physics and conducting research at Harvard and Tufts, Tousey began his long association with the NRL -- starting first in the Optics Division (1941) and then working in the Atmosphere and Astrophysics Division (1959). Under Tousey's direction, a series of high-altitude probes, beginning in 1946 with the use of captured German V-2 rockets, produced the first detailed record of the sun's radiation in the far ultraviolet region of the spectrum. In addition to his important work relating to the solar spectrum, Tousey also contributed to the fields of vision and atmospheric optics. Later in his career, Tousey guided the NRL's program of research on the visibility of earth satellites and was the head of the Rocket Spectroscopy Branch of the NRL. Tousey was a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to the 'Journal of the Optical Society of America.' He was the recipient of many awards, including: the Progress Medal of the Photographic Society of America; the Frederick Ives Medal of the Optical Society of American; the Prix Ancel of the Societe Francasie de Photographie; and the Draper Medal.