A Guide to the Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers, 1961-1994 Townsend, Marjorie Rhodes, Papers Ms1986-003

A Guide to the Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers, 1961-1994

A Collection in
Special Collections
Accession Number Ms1986-003


[logo]

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
USA
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2006 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Amy Shaffer, Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms1986-003
Title
Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers, 1961-1994
Size
4 boxes, 1 oversized folder; 3.3 cu. ft.
Creator
Marjorie Rhodes Townsend
Language
English
Abstract
Marjorie Rhodes Townsend was the first women to earn an engineering degree at The George Washington University, receiving her Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in 1951. After eight years at the Naval Research Laboratory, she moved to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center in 1959, where she worked until 1980. Townsend was project manager for three Small Astronomy Satellites (SAS, 1966-75) and for Applications Explorer Missions (1975-76), and later had responsibility for all advanced mission planning for future scientific and applications satellites as well as NOAA's meteorological satellites. Townsend's papers focus on her professional career in aerospace engineering at NASA and include some of her later consulting work, mainly consisting of correspondence, meeting notes, project documents, and publications that Townsend wrote or that relate to her work. There are also materials about her numerous speaking engagements and articles about Townsend's professional accomplishments.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers must be obtained from the Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers, Ms1986-003 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA.

Acquisition Information

The Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers were donated to the Archives of American Aerospace Exploration at the Special Collections by their creator in 1986 and 2005.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers began in December 2005 and was completed in March 2006.


Biographical Information

Marjorie Rhodes Townsend, born in 1930, entered The George Washington University engineering program at the age of 15. She took classes part time and worked full time after her marriage to doctor Charles Townsend in 1948, and was the first women to earn an engineering degree at GWU, receiving her Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in 1951.

Her career began with eight years at the Naval Research Laboratory where she worked on sonar research. In 1959 she moved to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center, where she worked until 1980. Noted for her project management skills, Townsend oversaw three satellite launches from foreign locations. She was project manager for all three Small Astronomy Satellites (1966-75) and for the Applications Explorer Missions (1975-76). She was granted a patent for a digital telemetry system that was aboard the NIMBUS satellite. Her last five years at NASA included responsibility for all advanced mission planning for future scientific and applications satellites as well as NOAA's meteorological satellites. After her retirement, Townsend worked for private aerospace companies and provided consulting services to NASA and other aerospace entities.

Townsend was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1971 and the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1980. She was also named Knight of the Italian Republic Order in 1972. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and served as a chair of the Washington chapter. She also served as chairman of the National Capital Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is a past president of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

Scope and Content

Townsend's papers focus on her professional career in aerospace engineering at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and also include some of her later consulting work. The bulk includes correspondence with scientists, notes from staff meetings, documentation about the NASA projects she worked on, and publications that Townsend wrote or that relate to her work. There are also drafts of speeches (mostly to engineering, student, and women's professional groups) and newspaper and magazine articles about Townsend's professional accomplishments.

Much of the material is identified as work from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and GSFC (Goddard Space Flight Center.) Acronyms for some of the projects she worked on include IRLS (Interrogation, Recording and Location System, the first space data collection system), SAS (the acronym for all three Small Astronomy Satellites, known as A,B, and C, and the first of which was called Uhuru), TIROS (Television InfraRed Observation Satellites), and APT (Automatic Picture Transmission).

Arrangement

The Marjorie Rhodes Townsend Papers are arranged in two series, and mostly by chronological order within the series, except where related project materials were kept together. There are areas of overlap between these two series.

Series I contains three subseries of records documenting Townsend's accomplishments, her presentations given to professional, civic, and student groups, and script drafts for a film about space in which she was involved. Subseries A contains her curriculum vitae and photos and clippings about her accomplishments. Subseries B contains correspondence and notes or entire texts of presentations that she presented at engineering conferences, science lectures, student classes, and meetings of womens' professional groups. Subseries C includes four drafts of the script for the movie "Beyond Our Sun," an educational film made for NASA by John Larry Washburn.

Series II encompasses materials from her work at NASA and some consulting work thereafter. It is arranged in chronological order, with a few exceptions to keep related project materials together.

Related Material

Additional materials about space flight and NASA are part of Virginia Tech's Archives of American Aerospace Exploration.

Separated Material


Index Terms

    Subjects:

  • Archives of American Aerospace Exploration (AAAE)
  • Science and Technology
  • University States. National Aeronatuics and Space Administration
  • University States. National Aeronatuics and Space Administration--Officials and employees
  • Women--History
  • Occupations:

  • Aerospace engineers

Contents List

Series I: Personal Data, Presentations, and NASA Film
  • Subseries A: Personal Data
    • Box-folder 1:1
      Resume for Marjorie Townsend, ca. 1985
    • Box-folder 1:2
      Photographs of Townsend accepting Knight of the Italian Republic Order, Oct 1972
    • Box-folder 1:3
      Program, The Life and Achievements of Dr. Robert H. Goddard, for a special engineering colloquium at Goddard Space Flight Center, Oct 1973
    • Box-folder 1:4
      Program and article on George Washington University Alumni Achievement Award for Townsend, Feb 1976
    • Box-folder 1:5
      Articles and clippings about Townsend, 1973-1984
  • Subseries B: Presentations for NASA and for the Public
    • Box-folder 1:6
      Presentation about TIROS II and the PAM/FM/FM system, Sept 1960
    • Box-folder 1:7
      A Medium Data Range Digital Telemetry System for a PTGSET meeting, Oct 1963
    • Box-folder 1:8
      The NIMBUS Spacecraft for Rochester Section of the Instrument Society of America (ISA), Nov 1963
    • Box-folder 1:9
      Data Handling and Communications Problems for the Federal Council for Science and Technology, Interdepartmental Committee for Atmospheric Sciences, Jan 1964
    • Box-folder 1:10
      Radiation Effects Experiment on Micropower Microelectronics for Office of Advanced Research and Technology, Charged Particle Radiation Effect Meeting, Mar 1964
    • Box-folder 1:11
      Presentation for Conference on Career Guidance in Science and Engineering, Mar 1966
    • Box-folder 1:12
      Notes for presentation at Space-Related Careers conference sponsored by NASA and Drexel Institute of Technology, Mar 1966
    • Box-folder 1:13
      Materials for remarks at meeting for American Society of Engineering Education, Dec 1966
    • Box-folder 1:14
      Women in Space Careers for Prince Georges County Science Fair, Apr 1967
    • Box-folder 1:15
      Six presentations about SAS, 1968 and n.d.
    • Box-folder 1:16
      Materials for presentation about telemetry at Spacemobile Conference sponsored by NASA, Sept 1968
    • Box-folder 1:17
      What Women Can Do notes for the Zonta Club of Metropolitan Washington, Jan 1972
    • Box-folder 1:18
      Press Conference Prior to Launch of SAS-B, Sept 1972
    • Box-folder 1:19
      Remarks for Federal Woman's Award Banquet, Mar 1973
    • Box-folder 1:20
      Acknowledgement for speaking at Developing New Horizons for Women classes at George Washington University, Oct 1973
    • Box-folder 1:21
      A Pioneer Woman Blazes a Trail in Engineering for the National Secretaries Association Banquet, Feb 1974
    • Box-folder 1:22
      Acceptance for Honorary Membership in the Wives' Wing of the Aerospace Medical Association, May 1974
    • Box-folder 1:23
      Discorso per il comitato promotore iniziative per la citta (PIC) in Maggio, Italy (in Italian), 1975
    • Box-folder 1:24
      Il lancio delli piccolo satellite astronomici (in Italian), May 1975
    • Box-folder 1:25
      Presentation for Women's Emphasis Day Luncheon at the Naval Supply Center, Aug 1977
    • Box-folder 1:26
      Two presentations and a photo for Spacecraft Systems Design for the 80's seminar at Iowa State University, Feb 1979
    • Box-folder 1:27
      Notes for panel discussion at the Orientation for the Presidential Management intern Program, July 1979
    • Box-folder 1:28
      Space Flight in the 80's for the Zonta Club of New Jersey, Jan 1980
    • Box-folder 1:29
      Notes for presentation at Non-Traditional Careers for Women program at The Catholic University of America, Mar 1980
    • Box-folder 1:30
      Women in Management, May 1980
    • Box-folder 1:31
      Space Flight in the 80's for Washington Academy of Sciences, May 1981
    • Box-folder 1:32
      Notes for Speech for Rotary Club in Immokalee, Florida, Dec 1983
    • Box-folder 1:33
      Presentation about the Orbiter shuttle and Manned Maneuvering Unit, n.d.
    • Box-folder 1:34
      Presentation about women in engineering positions and Townsend's personal experience, n.d.
  • Subseries C: Materials for the NASA Film Beyond Our Sun by John Larry Washburn
    • Box-folder 1:35
      Film treatment number one for Beyond the Moon, 1969
    • Box-folder 1:36
      Revised film treatment copy number one and notes for Beyond Our Sun, 1969
    • Box-folder 1:37
      Motion picture script copy number two, with final changes, for Beyond Our Sun, ca. 1970
    • Box-folder 1:38
      Final shooting script for Beyond Our Sun, 1972
Series II: NASA and Spacecraft Materials
  • Townsend's NASA Notebooks
    • Box-folder 1:39
      Staff Meetings, Nov 6, 1975 - Sept 2, 1980
    • Box-folder 1:40
      Oct 28, 1975 - May 10, 1976
    • Box-folder 1:41
      Sept 28, 1976 - Jan 12, 1977
    • Box-folder 1:42
      Jan 13, 1977 - May 19, 1977
    • Box-folder 1:43
      May 19, 1977 - Oct 13, 1977
    • Box-folder 1:44
      Oct 17, 1977 - Mar 10, 1978
    • Box-folder 1:45
      Mar 13, 1978 - Aug 31, 1978
    • Box-folder 1:46
      Sept 1, 1978 - Apr 23, 1979
  • Box-folder 1:47
    Calculations and original manuscript for PGSET TIROS paper, Sept 1961
    Physical Location: (see also oversize folder)
  • Box-folder 1:48
    Telemetering Infrared Data from the TIROS Meteorological Satellites by J.F. Davis, R.A. Hanel, R. A Stampfl, M.G. Strange, and M.R. Townsend (NASA TN D-1293), Aug 1962
  • Box-folder 1:49
    A Medium-Data-Range Digital Telemetry System, by M.R. Townsend, P.M. Feinberg, and J. G. Lesko, Jr. (GSCF, NASA Technical Note G-531), June 1964
  • Box-folder 1:50
    Three articles about NIMBUS and TIROS
    • Birds-eye view of the weather by C.M. Hunter and E. Rich, Jr. (GSFC), reprint from Electronics, July 27, 1964
    • Amateur Reception of Weather Satellite Picture Transmissions by W.G. Anderson, reprint from QST Magazine, Nov 1965
    • NIMBUS Receiving Equipment Developed at WSM, Incorporated for Use on WSM-TV Weather Shows by J.H. DeWitt, Jr. and C. Burch, ca. 1965
  • Box-folder 1:51
    Some Facts About BIAC by the Bioinstrumentation Advisory Council, ca. 1965
  • Box-folder 1:52
    Two similar articles about IRLS by G.D Hogan and M.R. Townsend, ca. 1965
    • The Interrogation, Recording and Location System (GSFC)
    • Data Collection and Position Fixing from a Satellite (GSFC)
  • Box-folder 1:53
    GSFC Statement of Work and Specification for the X-Ray Explorer (SAS-A) Satellite Experiment, June 1967
  • Correspondence about IRLS research
    • Box-folder 1:54
      IRLS on NIMBUS B - Participation, July 1965-July 1967
    • Box-folder 1:55
      Correspondence with interested participants, Aug 1965-Dec 1966
    • Box-folder 1:56
      International, Nov 1965 - Feb 1968
    • Box-folder 1:57
      Trips and visits, Mar-Dec 1968
    • Box-folder 1:58
      Correspondence about NIMBUS II and ESSA-2 satellites and APT with Carlos Bettencourt Faria in Angola, May 1966-Nov 1973
  • Box-folder 1:59
    Publicity folder with clippings and articles about IRLS on NIMBUS 3, 1966-1968
  • Box-folder 1:60
    The Migration of Polar Bears by V. Flyger and M.R. Townsend, reprint from Scientific American, Vol, 218, No. 2, Feb 1968
  • Box-folder 1:61
    System notes and photographs taken using NIMBUS II APT, 1966-1967
    Physical Location: (see also oversize folder)
  • Box-folder 1:62
    Photographs of MOE collar for tracking migration, ca. 1965
  • Box-folder 1:63
    Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS) Program (NASA, GSFC), Sept 1967
  • Box-folder 1:64
    Draft copy of The Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS) Program by M.R. Townsend (GSFC, NASA G-901), ca. 1967
  • Box-folder 1-65
    Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS) Safety Plan (GSFC), Oct 1970
  • Box-folder 1:66
    Execution Phase Project Plan for Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS-C) (GSFC, NASA) and Project Plan Change 1, Aug 1971-Mar 1972
  • Box-folder 1:67
    Small Astronomy Satellite - 1; Selected Press Clippings of Launch and Initial Findings (GSFC Office of Public Affairs, NASA), Apr 1971
  • Box-folder 1:68
    NASA-GSFC Mission Operations Plan 5-72, Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS-B) (NASA X-513-72-380), Oct 1972
  • Box-folder 1:69
    Small Astronomy Satellite - B; Goddard's Small Astronomy Satellite Readied for Launch (GSFC Office of Public Affairs, NASA), Oct 1972
  • Box-folder 1:70
    Spacecraft Control Section for the Improved Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS-C) by M.R. Townsend, printed as part of Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on Space Technology and Science, 1973
  • Box-folder 1:71
    The Standardized Functional Support Section for the Small Astronomy Satellite (SAS) by M.R. Townsend (NASA TN D-7725), June 1974
  • EGRET notebook and related materials
    • Box-folder 2:1
      Program X Spacecraft Users Guide (Boeing Aerospace Company), 1973
    • Box-folder 2:2
      Notebook entitled EGRET, June-Sept 1974
    • Box-folder 2:3-5
      Materials enclosed in EGRET notebook, (also see oversize folder) Aug-Dec 1974
      Physical Location: (see also oversize folder)
  • Box-folder 2:6
    Materials from folder entitled Trip to Italy, Apr-May 1975
  • Box-folder 2:7
    Townsend reading file - SAS 1975 materials, 1975-1976
  • Box-folder 2:8
    The Mission of the SAS-C Satellite and La missione del satellite SAS-C (GSFC, NASA, in English and Italian), 1975
  • Box-folder 2:9
    M.I.T. SAS-C Experiment Description, ca. 1975
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for the Small Astronomy Satellites Project Team, 1975
    • Box-folder 2:10
      Nominations information and contractor citations list
    • Box-folder 2:11
      List of participants to receive commemorative packages
    • Box 4
      Commemorative SAS objects
  • Box-folder 2:12
    Materials about satellite priorities and funding, 1976
  • Box-folder 2:13
    NASA Project Management Shared Experience Program participant list, May 1976
  • Box-folder 2:14
    Direct Delivery of Automated Spacecraft Using the Shuttle: Thoughts for the Designer by M.R. Townsend, from Astronautics & Aeronautics, Apr 1977
  • Box-folder 2:15
    Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere from Environmental Satellites by L.J. Allison, R. Wexler, C.R. Laughlin, and W.R. Bandeen (GSFC X-901-77-132 preprint), June 1977
  • Box-folder 2:16
    Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES): GOES D,E,F Data Book (NOAA, NASA, Hughes Aircraft Co.), Aug 1980
  • Box-folder 2:17
    OSSA Mission Plan for the IOC Time Frame of the Space Station Complex, first revision (NASA) with notes on payload and tools, June 1985
  • Box-folder 2:18
    Four articles from Goddard Library supporting OSSA information, ordered Mar 1985
    • Maintainable Maintenance Disconnect Valve (MMDV) for On-Orbit Component Replacement by T.E. Burr, C.K. Boynton, and A.O. Brouillet in ASME report 80-ENAs-42, 1980
    • The Service Role of a Space Station: Satellite/Platform Service and Maintenance by H.T. Fisher and K.J. Forsberg, AAIA symposium paper 83-7094, July 1983
    • Orbital Operation of Co-orbiting Spacecraft with a Space Station by M. Nagatomo and K. Kuriki, IAF congress paper IAF-84-42, Oct 1984
    • Technology for Spacecraft Servicing On-Board the Space Shuttle by L. Kerstein and H. Wartenberg, IAF congress paper IAF-84-35, Oct 1984
  • Box-folder 2:19
    Mission Operation Report for San Marco D/L Explorer (NASA E-898-88-05), Mar 1988
  • Box-folder 2:20
    Magellan Prelaunch Mission Operation Report (NASA E-844-89-30-01), 1989
  • Box-folder 2:21
    Mission Operation Report for Tracking and Data Relay Satellite TDRS-D (NASA T-313- 89-29-04), Jan 1989
  • Box-folder 2:22
    Mission Operations Report for Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) (NASA S-678-48-91-01), ca. 1990
  • Box-folder 2:23
    Mission Operation Report for Hubble Space Telescope (NASA E-458-31-90-01), Mar 1990
  • Box-folder 2:24
    Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO) Prelaunch Mission Operations Report (NASA E-S-458-31-91-01), Mar 1991
  • Box-folder 2:25
    STS-48 Payload Operations Working Group #7 Flight Cycle Profile by L.K. Grubbs and L. Honeycutt, and STS-48/UARS Joint Integrated Simulations plan, Mar 1991
  • Box-folder 2:26
    Proposal for Small Explorer Program: Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE), Oct 1992
  • Box-folder 2:27-28
    Astrophysics Missions and Payloads book (NASA), Nov 1992
  • Box-folder 2:29
    STS-51 Payload Handbook (NASA), 1993
  • Box-folder 2:30
    EDISON: The International Infrared Space Observatory: The M3 Proposal by H.A. Thronson, T.G. Hawarden, A.J. Penny, and J.K. Davies of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, May 1993
  • Box-folder 2:31
    LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna): Proposal for a Laser-Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detector in Space, by K. Danzmann, J. Hough, P. Bender, C.D. Edwards, and others, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Quantenoptik, May 1993
  • Box-folder 2:32
    NASA payload classification information, Sept 1993
  • Box-folder 2:33
    Hubble Space Telescope First Servicing Mission Contingency Plan (NASA), Oct 1993
  • Box-folder 2:34
    Current and upcoming missions and payloads, summaries and profiles, Dec 1993
  • Box-folder 2:35
    A Comparison of ARIANE 5 (Solid) vs. Shuttle Advanced Solid Rocket Motor (ASRM) Development/Production by R. Bardos (NASA), Feb 1994
  • Box-folder 2:36
    Spacecraft Systems Technology Workshop Proceedings - NASA AstroTech 21 Workshops, Integrated Technology Planning, Series III, Vol. 4, (NASA), Feb 1994
  • Box-folder 2:37-38
    Technology for Small Spacecraft by the Panel on Small Spacecraft Technology, draft copy, Mar 1994
  • Box-folder 2:39
    M.R. Townsend's notes and review of the draft report by the Panel on Small Spacecraft Technology, Mar 1994
  • Box-folder 2:40
    Technology for Small Spacecraft by the Panel on Small Spacecraft Technology, published by the National Academy Press, 1994
  • Committee on Space Facilities - Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
    • Box-folder 2:41
      First committee meeting information, Dec 1993
    • Box-folder 2:42
      Post-meeting binder of materials, Dec 1993
    • Box-folder 2:43
      Major Space Test Facilities Outside the United States presentation by D.T. Jones (Boeing), Feb 1994
    • Box-folder 2:44
      Press coverage of committee work and thank-yous, Feb-Nov 1994
    • Box-folder 2:45
      Space Facilities: Meeting future needs for research, development, and operations by the Committee on Space Facilities, published by the National Academy Press, 1994
    • Box-folder 3:1
      Memo to the Committee on Space Facilities accompanying volumes 1, 3, 4, and 5 of the National Facilities Study, 1994
    • National Facilities Study, Apr 1994
      • Box-folder 3:2
        Vol. 1, Facilities Inventory
      • Box-folder 3:3
        Vol. 2, Mission and Requirements Model Report
      • Box-folder 3:4
        Vol. 4, Space Operations Facilities Task Group
      • Box-folder 3:5
        Vol. 5, Space Research and Development Facilities Task Group
  • Box 4
    Box of unassembled parts for 1/20 scale model of SAS-A
  • Box 4
    Box of unassembled parts for 1/20 scale model of SAS-B
  • Box 4
    Two stickers commemorating the SAS-C
  • Box 4
    Small metal commemorative plaque and paper information sheet for SAS-C
  • Oversize Folder 1
    Oversize blueprints removed from folders 1:47, 1:61, and 2:5