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


April 2012 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 28th Year of Publication


April 10 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so either contact Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at mdspacebr@aol.com no later than noon on Friday, April 6th. We have a unique and unprecedented program for the luncheon that you will surely not want to miss! See more details on this special event below.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dennis Andrucyk, Director of the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate (AETD) for the past two years, discussed changes and ongoing projects. Changes he noted was that Chris Scolese returned from NASA Headquarters in early March as Center Director; the addition of an Information Technology and Communications Directorate; the Systems Engineering and Advanced Concepts Division and Navigation, Guidance and Control Division combined into one division (Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division) for better collaboration and efficiency. In addition, management of large scientific instruments ($170M to $250M) is under Dennis’s purview, bringing costs and schedules to the forefront to keep costs down and enhance efficiency. Contrary to popular belief, Goddard’s employee populace is not shrinking; rather, hiring continues. The current workforce is stable at 3200 civil servants and 8500 contractors, with AETD managing 40 percent of the civil servants. Activities are ongoing in all four scientific disciplines (Earth, Planetary, Heliophysics and Astrophysics). In-house projects include: James Webb Space Telescope instrument structuring and integration; the Global Precipitation Mission with Japan (a follow-on to the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission); development of a thermal infrared instrument for Landsat; a four-satellite magnetospheric mission; and a laser altimeter. New technology activities include testing ammonium dinitramide (providing 6+ percent more thrust and much less toxic) to replace hydrazine as a propellant and testing of the ORION escape capsule at Wallops. Two new buildings are being added to Goddard’s campus: a Shipping and Receiving building (under construction) off Soil Conservation Road and a Flight Projects Building (bids are being solicited) adjacent to Building 12.

COMING ATTRACTION FOR THE APRIL 10THGRAA LUNCHEON : For members living within commuting distance to Greenbelt, we have a special treat in store for you. Alberta Moran has assembled a distinguished panel of Goddard pioneers to address topics focusing on “how Goddard has changed from its inception to the present, to include why things changed and the internal and external forces prompting such changes over the past 50+ years.” Panel moderators for this special event will be Rick Obenschain, currently Deputy Center Director, and Bob Hutchison, Goddard’s first Personnel Director. Other panel members will be Ches Looney, George Ludwig, Majorie Townsend, and Bill Townsend, former Deputy Center Director. Discussion topics will be addressed by the panel, so we encourage members to forward questions/comments to Alberta Moran by April 4th via e-mail at mdspacebr@aol.com to be considered by the panel.

NEW EDITION OF THE GRAA MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY : The 2012 edition of the GRAA Membership Directory is in the process of being compiled and otherwise readied for publication and distribution. We need to be sent member updates so its contents are as accurate as possible. If you have contact updates (address, e-mail address, or telephone number), or if you would like to receive future GRAA Newsletters by e-mail instead of snail mail, or if you no longer desire to receive the GRAA Newsletter, please notify Strat Laios by sending him a note to GRAA’s address above or send him an e-mail at stratlaios@verizon.net so as to arrive no later than April 10th. That’s only a few days after you receive this newsletter issue, so please help us meet our publishing schedule.

Based on ever-increasing printing and mailing costs (likely to be more than $4000) to disseminate the GRAA Membership Directory, you are encouraged to help out the GRAA Treasury by sending in a tax-deductible contribution.

April 5, 1990: Pegsat was launched on the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corporation’s (OBC) Pegasus, a winged, air-launched rocket from a B-52 bomber over the Pacific Ocean. Pegasus was developed under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and involved the Navy and NASA. DARPA asked Goddard if it could build a small scientific satellite to collect the payload environment from its flight and, in return, Goddard could use any desired science experiment. Dr. Robert Hoffman selected a barium release experiment that would eject barium canisters when the satellite arrived over Ft. Churchill, Canada, under selected conditions. The battery-operated Pegsat was designed, built, and supported by members of the Sounding Rocket Branch for $2.5M, including building a ground station in Ft. Churchill. The station tracked the satellite, received telemetry, and sent commands for controlling the barium releases. Pegsat was built in about 7 months and designed for only a 3-month mission. While the barium releases took place during the first month, it operated flawlessly for nine months, finally succumbing to battery failure on January 7, 1991, after some 4000 orbits.

CODE 600 REUNION SCHEDULED FOR GRAA LUNCHEON ON MAY 8TH : For all Code 600 (Sciences and Exploration Directorate and its forerunners) retirees and alumni, join in to celebrate the long and glorious history of Code 600 and renew old friendships. Dr. Frank McDonald is orchestrating the festivities, so mark your calendar now.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members: JoAnn Clark, David Cleveland, Anthony Comberiate, Stanley Corwin (in memory of his beloved wife, Judy), David Douds, Carroll Dudley, Anthony Grandi, Gregory Greer, Thomas Kelsall, Frederick Kreis, Michael Lauriente, Robert Orff, William Rhodes, and Ralph Welsh.


•  Michael A. Alvarez, of Fairfax, VA, passed away from congestive heart failure on December 14th. Enlisting in the Navy at age 17, he specialized in communications and radio work while serving in the Pacific during WWII. After retiring from the Navy, he worked at Goddard as a Computer Analyst from 1967 to 1993.

•  Ciro A. (Jerry) Cancro, of Wilmington, DE (formerly of Silver Spring, MD and Media, PA) passed away on January 18th at age 91. He served in the Navy during WWII as an Electronics Technician. After the war, he was an Electronics Engineer at the Naval Ordnance Lab and later transferred to Goddard as an Electronics Engineer, where he was part of a team that designed and developed instrumentation systems for 15 different space vehicles.

•  Jacob L. Weaver, Sr., of Harwood, MD (formerly of Fayetteville and Gettysburg, PA) passed away on February 19th. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He served at Goddard as a Civil Engineer and supervised the building of tracking stations around the world for the Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network.

WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY VIDEO TOUR: Many GRAA members know little about the work that goes on at the Wallops Flight Facility on a daily basis. To view an extremely interesting and educational video tour, go to http://www.youtube.com and search on NASA 360 – Wallops Flight Facility.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.