Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association
P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


June 2011 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 27th Year of Publication


June 14 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so please call Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at Alberta49@verizon.net no later than noon on Friday, June 10th. Our featured speaker will be Dr. John C. Mather, Goddard’s own Nobel laureate. His presentation, “From the Big Bang to the Nobel Prize and on to the James Webb Telescope and the Discovery of Alien Life,” will provide attendees an enlightening understanding of his past successes, present endeavors, and future possibilities.
July 12 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dr. Compton “Jim” Tucker’s outstanding presentation to attendees at the GRAA Luncheon in May added another data point to recent presentations on climate impact to the Earth’s environment. He studies data from tropical glaciers in Central and South America at elevations between 17,000 and 20,000 feet using the microwave sounder on the Polar Operational Environmental Satellite (POES), LandSat thematic mapping, as well as ground-based observations. Glaciers are used as surrogates for studying global temperatures around the equator. In Peru, glacial ice has retreated 700 km between 1980 and 2000. Lack of cloud cover over the equator at such altitudes causes the sublimation of ice. It takes seven times more heat to melt ice by sublimation than by direct sunlight. Jim therefore concludes that global warming is not due to the sun. His data also shows that the increase in surface temperature is not a function of the solar cycle. Ninety percent of melting ice goes into the ocean, thereby raising its level. Sea level is currently about 100 meters higher than 15,000 years ago. Greenland and Antarctica are major sources of ice melt. The real truth about climate change is still being debated.

COPIES OF “READ YOU LOUD AND CLEAR!” AGAIN AVAILABLE: GRAA has a limited number of additional copies of the “Story of NASA’s Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network.” If you would like to be sent a copy, send a check to GRAA for $5.00 (for postal charges) to our Lanham address. If you want to pick up a free copy at our June luncheon, contact Strat Laios at 301-236-9153 or via e-mail at stratlaios@verizon.net and ask him to reserve a copy for you.

TREASURER'S REPORT : Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members: Russ Beard, Renate Bever, Bill Elsen, Elise Fisher (in memory of Hans Bremer), Ellen Herring, Tom McGunigal, Ray Saxton, Bill Townsend, and Tom Underwood.

ATLANTIS SCHEDULED AS LAST SHUTTLE MISSION: Shortly after Endeavour blasted off for the International Space Station on May 16th, Shuttle Atlantis made its “rollover” trip from the Orbiting Processing Facility (OPF) to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the final mission of NASA’s 30-year-old Shuttle Program in July. To check out an amazing photo of Atlantis during its trip from the OPF to the VAB (look for Atlantis to the right of the towering VAB), check out the amazing satellite imagery at: http://news.discovery.com/space/big-pic-satellite-spies-shuttle-atlantis-rollover-110518.html#mkcpqn=rssnws1.

GRAA MEMBERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Daniel Pendick, Goddard science writer, is still interested in speaking with retired GRAA scientists and engineers about the missions they worked on at the Center, particularly in NASA’s early years. He is working on an ongoing series of articles and blog posts about Goddard’s legacy to science and engineering. He would very much like to speak to members who were founding or early members of the Goddard Astronomy Club, which was founded 50 years ago this year. Please contact Daniel directly at 301-286-0984 or via e-mail at daniel.a.pendick@nasa.gov if you are interested in being interviewed. For Daniel’s recent historical writings about Goddard, check the link at http://geeked.gsfc.nasa.gov/?page_id=6300.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: At the age of GRAA members, a clear conscience is the sign of a bad memory.


•  Edythe S. Coopersmith, of Margate, FL, passed away on May 12th at age 91. During her career at Goddard, Edythe worked as a Contracting Officer and Procurement Analyst in the Procurement Division.

•  Elizabeth (Beth) W. Fick, of Lusby, MD, passed away on May 6th. At Goddard, Beth worked as a Procurement Analyst in the Procurement Division’s Small Business Office.

•  Janet A. Paquin, of Milton, DE, passed away on May 22nd. She worked as a Secretary while at Goddard.

•  Lib C. Rogers, of Okeechobee, FL, passed away on May 10th. In Goddard’s early days, Lib was assigned to the Radio Frequency Systems Branch of the Office of Space Science and Satellite Applications. In later years, he was assigned to the Data Storage Section, Instrument Electronics Systems Branch of the Engineering Directorate.

•  John F. Unger, of Greenbelt, MD, passed away on May 5th from complications from Parkinson’s disease. Among several assignments, he first worked Space Power Technology Branch of the Office of Space Science and Satellite Applications and later in the Resources Management Office of the Mission Operations and Data Systems Directorate.

On Jun 24, 1999, a Delta II rocket launched Explorer 77/Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), a joint US-Canada-France project. Initially designed as a three-year mission, FUSE was decommissioned in October 2007 after more than eight years of on-orbit operations (a failure of the pointing system in July 2007 brought an end to scientific observations).

BELIEVE IT OR DON’T : While surfing the Internet last month, Ye Ed uncovered a written interview in a law journal that included an interview with a judge from a Florida court. One question the interviewer posed was: “What is the worst job you ever had?” The judge answered, “Working as a secretary at Goddard Space Flight Center while my ex-husband was in the Army. My section had a sign-in/out board, and the other personnel printed my name on the board as ‘Margrits’ [vice Margaret] because of my southern accent.” This goes to show you that you should rarely trust lawyers! The article mentioned that her cat’s name is Sassy. Ye Ed is sure how the cat got its name and perhaps why the judge has an ex-husband! In addition, Ye Ed has been beside himself wondering how wise her boss was to assign her to the Circuit Courts’ Domestic Relations Division!

CLEARING THE WAY FOR GODDARD’S NEW BUILDING : Contractors are currently clearing land on the Center off Soil Conservation Road in preparation for constructing Building 35. Expected to be completed in mid-2012, Building 35 will house the Center’s shipping, receiving, and warehousing operations.

NEW BUILDING AT WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY (WFF) : Senator Mikulski and NASA Administrator Boldin cut the ribbon to open the new Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) on March 22nd at WFF. The HIF’s bay provides dual horizontal processing of launch vehicles and is 250 feet long, 250 feet wide and 60 feet high.

GODDARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SEEKS SATELLITE MODELS : If you happen to find a satellite model or two while doing your spring cleaning, down-sizing, or moving to a new home, please consider donating the scale model(s) to the Goddard Preservation Society. Simply contact Christopher Meaney, Video Animator, at 301-286-4485 or via e-mail at christopher.r.meaney@nasa.gov and he will make arrangements to accept your model(s) to preserve for future generations.