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


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


June 12 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, June 8th. Our featured speaker will be Peter H. Hildebrand, Director of the Earth Sciences Division (Code 610). The title of his presentation will be “Food and Energy for the World, A Sustainable Future,” which no doubt bodes well in being a most insightful and educational topic.
July 10 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Retirees from the forerunners of the current Sciences and Exploration Directorate (Code 600) had a well-attended and lively reunion at May’s GRAA Luncheon. Dr. Frank McDonald, emcee for the event, has suggested that such a reunion should be repeated every two years or so, and GRAA’s leadership team is definitely in solid agreement with his assessment.

Dr. George Ludwig, the luncheon’s scheduled speaker, was unable to attend due to a health issue. However, his daughter, Captain Sharon Ludwig, a U.S. Coast Guard physician, very ably stood in for him and presented his prepared speech, which was excerpted from his recent book, Opening Space Research – Dreams, Technology, and Scientific Results. She described early U.S. space research and how it was impacted by the launch of Russia’s Sputnik spacecraft in October 1957. Goals established by the International Geophysical Year (IGY) from July 1, 1957 to December 1, 1958, were space exploration drivers to: 1) place a satellite in durable orbit; 2) demonstrate it was there by suitable tracking; and 3) use it to conduct a scientific experiment. Explorers I and III discovered and confirmed the radiation bands (Van Allen belts) around the Earth and were named after Dr. James Van Allen of the University of Iowa. A graduate student assistant to Dr. Van Allen was George Ludwig, and in those early days they were working with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) on Vanguard as well as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Explorer to get their cosmic ray instrument into orbit. Vanguard also met the IGY conditions and contributed to the function of Goddard and its many future flight programs. Following his success at the University of Iowa, Dr. Ludwig was wooed to Goddard, where early in his career he served as a research scientist, Orbiting Geophysical Observatory (OGO) Project Scientist, and Information Processing Division Chief. Details and information about purchasing Dr. Ludwig’s new book can be found at the American Geophysical Union’s web site (http://www.agu.org/books).

I encourage other Directorates, organizations and projects to consider using a GRAA Luncheon as a reunion venue. It is an easy and enjoyable way to visit with old friends, renew acquaintances with colleagues, and to reminisce about the “good old days” at Goddard.

NEW EDITION OF THE GRAA MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY : The 2012 edition of the GRAA Membership Directory accompanies this month’s newsletter. Since printing and postage fees for the directory are quite high, please consider making a tax-deductible donation (if you have not already done so) to help keep our treasury sustainable. Checks sent to the GRAA address above will be greatly appreciated.

AQUA SATELLITE CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY ON-ORBIT : Built by Northrop Grumman, the Aqua satellite celebrated its 10th year on-orbit on May 4th, delivering unprecedented data about the Earth’s climate and water cycle. A primary spacecraft in NASA’s Earth Observing System, Aqua was designed for a six-year mission life. Among its many achievements, it created the first satellite-derived global map of mid-troposphere carbon dioxide (one of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming), contributed to improved weather forecasts, created global fire maps, estimated atmospheric ozone concentrations, mapped daily global sea surface temperatures, and mapped some of the effects of Japan’s earthquake and resulting tsunami.

June 5, 1969: A Thor-Agena rocket launched OGO 6, also known as OGO-VI and OGO F, from Vandenberg Air Force Base as the last in the series of OGO spacecraft. It was instrumented with 26 experiments designed to study interrelationships between, and latitudinal distributions of, high-altitude atmospheric parameters during a period of increased solar activity. Degradation in various instruments and equipment occurred over the next two years, and the spacecraft was turned off on June 28, 1971, due to power difficulties. It was turned on again from October 10, 1971, through March 1972 for operation of an experiment conducted for Japan’s Radio Research Laboratory.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from the following: Mary Adkins, Michael Barthelmy, Elaine Bobbitt, Helen Conroy, David Coolidge, Robert Eaves, David Galoppo, Walter Gates, David Hepler, Ellen Herring, Clara Jean Hughes, George Karras, Florence Kenny, Edward Lowe, Grace Miller, Howard Ottenstein, Arlene Peterson, James and Annie Poland, Ray Saxton, Michael Tasevoli, and John Tominovich. [NOTE: May’s newsletter listed a contribution from Peggy and Stephen Maran that should have read only Stephen Maran and another contribution from Ivan Mason that should have read Ivan and Peggy Mason. Our apologies are extended for the oversight].


•  Robert E. Lee, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away at age 90 on May 5th. Unfortunately, we were unable to determine his job title or assignments when he served at Goddard.

•  Eula Mae Paseur, of Huntsville, AL, passed away on January 12th. Unfortunately, while we were not able to determine her job title, she worked in the Mission and Data Operations Directorate during her stint at Goddard.

•  Robert L. Peterson, of Potomac, MD, passed away on May 2nd. He served as an Aerospace Engineer at Goddard.

•  Ronnie R. Rippy, of Greensboro, NC, passed away on May 3rd. He served as an Electrical Engineer at Goddard.

•  LaVerne R. Stelter, of Silver Spring, MD, passed away on April 2nd. He joined Goddard in 1959 as Head of the Communications Section. He later served as Ground Systems Manager for TIROS, then assigned the same position for Nimbus, and then in 1963 was appointed Chief of the Communications Division.

GRAA MEMBER INVITES INPUT ON PROPOSED NETWORKS DIVISION REUNION IN FLORIDA: GRAA Member George Karras, of Cape Canaveral, FL, has suggested that Networks-affiliated folks from the former Code 530 (as well as other old time Code 500 divisions) consider having a reunion at/near the Kennedy Space Center sometime this coming October. George has graciously offered up his services to plan such an event, to include setting up tours, arranging for accommodations and dinners, etc. If you are interested in spending a few days in FL in October (typically a time after the humid summer weather has subsided), please do not hesitate to contact George via e-mail at gjkarras@cfl.rr.com or telephone at 321-868-2960.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.