Vaughan was graduated BSME from Clemson A & M College on 3 June, 1951, and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the USAF Reserves with date of rank 7 June, 1951, reporting for active duty with the 25th Weather Squadron, Warner Robins, GA. He remained there until he reported his pilot training Class 52-G at Spence Field, Moultrie,Ga. on 2 October, 1951. He started his ground school and flying training and after completing 22 hours dual in the AT-6G aircraft, was suspended from flying -medical suspension. He was then assigned to AMC Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, OK in Jan.1952. He remained on active duty in research and development, working in a jet engineering development group until March 1953.
He was released from active duty and returned to graduate school, working toward a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson. He left school to go to a summer job with Vitro Corporation of America at Eglin AFB, Valpariso, in June, 1955. He returned to graduate school that fall, and the following year returned to Eglin as a civil servant employee with the Air Proving Command, remaining there until October 1956. In October 1956 he transferred to the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) von Braun rocket development team in Huntsville, AL. and remained with them until July 1, 1960. While working with the team he returned to Clemson to complete his master's thesis and was awarded his MSME in Jan.1959. When the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) was formed on July 1, 1960, he and other team members were transferred and began working on development of the Saturn series rockets for the Apollo Program. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Team for the first Circum-Lunar navigation flight (Apollo 8), and he developed the environmental design criteria for the Lunar Rover design, participated in its development, and supported real time operations of the Rover during the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions. After the Apollo missions were completed, he conceived a series of student demonstration experiments to be conducted by the astronauts while on board America's first space station the Skylab. One in the series was the Fluid Mechanics Demonstrations. He continued his research work and qualified as a NASA KC-135 Zero-G-Aircraft experimenter and test subject. He began working with the Atmospheric Cloud Physics community to develop a number of zero-g-cloud physics experiments for possible use in the future Space Shuttle program. As a result of these studies, the Nighttime and Day-time Observation from Space of Lightning (NOSL ) was developed and flew during Shuttle missions STS-2, 4, and 6. Very interesting film images were collected and the results from this research led to the Mesoscale Lightning Experiment that during 1989 Shuttle missions produced new and exciting phenomena- The Red Sprites and The Blue Jets that are associated with thunderstorms. He is now retired(1999)but at present continuing his research in thunderstorm and severe weather programs working at his residence.
Flight Log: Still active as civilian pilot (750 hours to date)